High CBD Medical Marijuana Cannabis Therapy for Chronic Pain
by Ellen Lenox Smith

How to Use Medical Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

How to Use Medical Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

High CBD Medical Marijuana Cannabis Therapy for Chronic Pain


As a medical marijuana patient and caregiver since 2007, in the State of Rhode Island, I would like to share some thoughts and observations from the CBD Patient by Survey Care By Design published September, 2015. They surveyed 2,495 patients who had been using medical marijuana for over 30 days.  Six hundred and twenty one fully completed the surveys that could be used for their evaluation. Their responses were collected over a 6-month period, between March and August of 2015. These medical marijuana patients were asked:


  1. The medical conditions for which they are taking CBD-rich cannabis
  2.  The ratio of CBD-to-THC medical marijuana they are using
  3. The impact of CBD-rich cannabis therapy on chronic pain or discomfort, energy, mood and well being.


I would like to address three of the areas from this report and share our recognition of their findings from my personal use and those of our past and present patients as caregivers.


First, they state that, “There is no significant correlation between the condition a patient has and the specific CBD:THC ratio they choose to treat that condition. However, patients with psychiatric or mood disorders and patients with diseases of or injuries to the CNS or central nervous system favor CBD-dominant cannabis therapies. Patients with pain and inflammation favor CBD-rich cannabis therapies with more equal levels of CBD and THC.”


I have to agree to this personally and also through observation of the people we have helped find their correct medical marijuana strain. I now sleep at night using a night oil made with a higher CBD ratio. I found that if I didn’t get right to sleep using my previous higher THC ratio, that I was experiencing some strange head sensations that I was not enjoying. Now, if I am having a tough night using my higher CBD mix, I am not experiencing odd sensations and can safely get out of bed without concerns.  


One patient, who experiences numerous medical issues but seems to have the issue of depression and PTSD dominate has now found she is doing well by mixing a day sativa plant with the highest CBD plant we have called ACDC (24% CBD/1% THC). She uses this mixture both day and night and finds it also address her levels of chronic pain more effectively by now just using the high CBD, as it was not addressing the chronic pain with which she also lives.


Another patient, a scientist, was just thrilled switching to  the new CBD plants we grow. He has found that his mood is calmer and the PTSD is reduced. He is thriving a productive worker again with no negative side effects.


I have corresponded with many on line and one person did report that she lives in an illegal state so she resorted to purchasing, pure CBD (hemp), legally, and has found for her, it addressed her pain. Many will not be that successful with just pure CBD for most need some THC to treat chronic pain. That is the same case for  some children – not all just respond to just the CBD.


Second, they state:.”THC matters. A higher ratio of CBD to THC does not result in better therapeutic outcomes. Patients using the 4:1 CBD to THC were the most likely to report decreased pain or discomfort, and increased energy and improved mood. Patients using the 2:1 CBD to THC ratio reported the greatest improvement in overall wellbeing. This finding is consistent with scientific research indicating that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance one another’s therapeutic effect.”


I have to totally agree with the above statement. Most will not be lucky like the woman stated before and find success without some THC in their medicine. People tend to have a negative attitude towards the mention of THC and think it acts more successfully without THC or lower ratios of it. We have not had one patient that just uses alone the highest CBD plant we have. They appreciate the less head issues from reducing the THC but quickly find that their other issues are not being addressed successfully until the reintroduce a mixture with more THC.


Finally, they stated, ”CBD-rich cannabis’ does not appear to have a significant impact on energy levels (as compared to pain, discomfort or mood).”


I am living proof of that as all the people we have worked with using medical marijuana. When I need a boost on a tough pain afternoon, I find vaporizing or using tincture from the high CDB plant does not provide an increase of energy. However, when I use the 2:1 ratio that includes more THC, I am able to return to not only pain relief but also increased energy and interest in being involved with life again. As we have personally found here in RI,  and also supported in this study, you still have to experiment with dosage and ratios to finding your correct type of medication for success with alleviating your issues. Using medical marijuana will never be like it is going to the pharmacy. One pill does not fit all – one strain of medical marijuana does not fit all, and not one ratio is right for all people, even dealing with the same conditions.



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Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. In addition to their work for the U.S. Pain Foundation, as Co-Directors for Medical Marijuana Advocacy, they also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. Ellen wrote a book about her journey as a Pain Warrior, It Hurts Like Hell!” For more information about medical marijuana and how to convert it to other forms of administering besides smoking, visit their website.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of this website. Medical marijuana is legal in some U.S. states but is still technically illegal under federal law. Even in states where it is legal, doctors may frown upon marijuana and drop patients from their practice for using it.


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