Intractable Pain

As defined by the state of Minnesota, intractable pain is a pain state where the cause of pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated; and where no relief or cure of the cause of pain is possible, or no relief has been found after reasonable effort. The cause and intensity of intractable pain varies greatly from patient to patient, but cannabis may help with a variety of symptoms common in patients with intractable pain.

How Cannabis may help Intractable Pain:

  • CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory agent; studies have reported CBD is anywhere from 4 to 20 times more potent than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory.

  • THC has shown to be effective at reducing sensations of pain, anxiety, depression, and nausea. It also may help increase appetite and improve patients’ quality and duration of sleep.

  • THC may cause drowsiness and dizziness, but CBD mitigates the psychoactive effects of THC. By using both THC and CBD, patients can receive the benefits of THC with less of a chance of undesirable side effects, making it more likely patients can be active and productive during the day.

  • Cannabis therapies have replaced or reduced opioid therapies for many of our intractable pain patients. Many patients report an improved quality of life following this, due to the extensive side effect profile of opioid medications.

Unlike most opiod pain relievers, cannabis does not:

  • Cause constipation

  • Carry the risk of respiratory depression

  • Carry the risk of death or overdose

What may qualify as Intractable Pain?

Below is a list of common causes of pain. Please keep in mind this list is not exhaustive and there are many other pain conditions that fall under the umbrella of Intractable Pain. If you are wondering whether your condition may qualify you, we recommend speaking with your health care practitioner.

  • Arthritis: rheumatoid & oseoarthritis

  • Cancer

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

  • Chrohn's Disease

  • Disc (vertebral) herniation

  • Endometriosis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Headache: migraine

  • Headache: other

  • Low back pain

  • Lupus

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Myofascial pain

  • Myelopathies

  • Neck pain

  • Neuropathy: diabetic

  • Neuropathy: HIV

  • Neuropathy: post-herpetic

  • Neuropathy: other

  • Parkinson's

  • Phantom limb pain

  • Post-stroke pain

  • Postoperative pain

  • Sciatica

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Trauma (including vertebral compression fracture)

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

  • Vascular disease


The Consumption of Cannabis by Fibromyalgia Patients in Israel

Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain

Patient-Reported Symptom Relief Following Medical Cannabis Consumption

Emerging Evidence for Cannabis' Role in Opioid Use Disorder