New treatment brings new hope

Doctors can prescribe marijuana to treat intractable pain, but not all of them approve of the idea.

by Keelia Moeller

Health officials in Minnesota recently decided to add intractable pain to the list of conditions that qualify a person for a medical marijuana prescription. This change will take effect in August. 
Intractable pain, more severe than chronic pain, is defined as severe pain that persists for extended periods of time and which proves resistant to medical treatment.
Oftentimes, the pain can also relate to another illness — for example, cancer, diabetes, migraines or arthritis. 
There’s still some room for improvement in who can access medical marijuana. Some physicians will resist writing the prescription, feeling there isn’t enough evidence to justify marijuana as a beneficial form of treatment.
The premise behind this argument is absurd — as someone who’s witnessed the benefits of medical marijuana, they’re irrefutable. 
My younger cousin was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. She’s had unpredictable seizures since she was born. Before she was prescribed medical marijuana, no other medications had helped. Medical marijuana, in contrast, helps her keep an appetite, reduces the number of seizures she experiences per day and makes those seizures more predictable. 
My point is that physicians need to look at medical marijuana as more than just a new, controversial option. The state of Minnesota sees its potential. If it didn’t, officials wouldn’t have made this decision. 
My goal is not to make it easy for everyone to access medical marijuana. Rather, it’s to have the drug available to every patient who qualifies for it. For this to happen, Minnesotan physicians need to open their minds and see the potential of this treatment.