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CDC Seeks Public Comments Regarding Chronic Pain Management

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2020

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking public comments on how Americans with chronic pain are successfully treating their symptoms.

    The call for comments, posted on April 17 at regulations.gov here, states: “Interested persons or organizations are invited to participate by submitting written views, recommendations, and data related to perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management. CDC invites comments specifically on topics focused on using or prescribing opioid pain medications, non-opioid medications, or non-pharmacological treatments.”

    The CDC’s interest in alternative methods of chronic pain management may be of particular significance to many medical cannabis patients.

    According to state-registry records, “Chronic pain is currently and historically the most common qualifying condition reported by medical cannabis patients (67.5 percent in 2016).” This finding is hardly a surprise, as cannabis is well-established to mitigate pain in clinical models, particularly in patients with neuropathy. Additional clinical trial data indicates that cannabinoids possess synergistic activity with opioids, which “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” Among pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs, most subjects report eventually decreasing or even eliminating their use of opiates.

    States the CDC, “Public comment will help CDC’s understanding of stakeholders’ values and preferences regarding pain management and will complement CDC’s ongoing work assessing the need for updating or expanding the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.”

    That said, it cautions that any public comments received “are part of the public record and are subject to public disclosure. Comments will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, do not include any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential, proprietary, or inappropriate for public disclosure. If you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be on public display.”

    The agency is accepting public comments through June 16, 2020.

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