Does Menstrual Pain Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Utah?

Does Menstrual Pain Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Utah?

As with just about every other state with an active Medical Cannabis program, Utah considers chronic and acute pain qualifying conditions. Of course, there are restrictions in place. Not every form of pain can be legally treated with Medical Cannabis. That leads to a question: does menstrual pain qualify?

Pain associated with a woman’s monthly cycle can range anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to quite severe. Treating it with Medical Cannabis could offer significant relief. Fortunately, the condition could qualify for obtaining a Medical Cannabis card.

Not on the List

To be clear, the female menstrual cycle is not a qualifying condition in and of itself. It would be tough for a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) to simply list “menstrual pain” on a patient’s electronic record and leave it at that. There needs to be further justification. Chronic pain is that justification.

Utah’s Medical Cannabis statute defines chronic pain deemed appropriate for Medical Cannabis treatment as “persistent pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed” by way of prescription opioids or a physical intervention.

The chances of a doctor prescribing opioid pain medications to treat minimal menstrual pain are not very high. But serous and recurring menstrual pain is another matter.

Chronic Pain Is Broadly Defined

For the purposes of defining who qualifies for a Medical Cannabis card in Utah, chronic pain is broadly defined. This benefits patients of all types who, without being able to list chronic pain as a qualifying condition, would have no other choice but to seek approval from the state Compassionate Use Board.

Chronic menstrual pain not relieved by other pharmacological treatments or physical intervention certainly qualifies for Medical Cannabis. Still, a basic understanding of how approval from the Compassionate Use Board works might be helpful to our readers.

The board has the legal authority to approve Medical Cannabis cards for patients who do not meet the standard qualifications. This includes not only people whose conditions aren’t on the list, but also minors who would otherwise not be allowed to consume the drug. The Compassionate Use Board could look at the totality of information provided by both patient and QMP and ultimately determine that Medical Cannabis treatment is appropriate.

A Very Common Problem

Knowing what we know about menstrual pain suggests that it would be worth considering as a qualifying condition, both in Utah and elsewhere. According to The Cannigma’s Jessica Reilly, some 91% of all women report menstrual pain as a normal part of their monthly cycle. Approximately 29% say the pain is severe.

Unfortunately, those same women report that over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers offer only minimal relief. Yet history records women using cannabis to relieve menstrual pain long before governments around the world began banning cannabis.

You Can Always Speak with Your Doctor

If menstrual pain is a normal part of your monthly cycle and OTC pain relievers don’t help, you can always speak with your doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner about it. Your pain might be severe enough to be considered a chronic pain that qualifies for Medical Cannabis therapy.

Chronic and acute pain are among the most common reasons to use Medical Cannabis. The thing about pain is it that it comes “in all shapes and sizes,” so to speak. Medical Cannabis laws do not easily accommodate that reality right now, but things are changing.

In Utah, a patient’s first Medical Cannabis Card expires after six months. Once the card is renewed, it lasts for another six months. After one full year in the program, the patient may be eligible for annual, rather than semi-annual, renewals. Your Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) or Limited Medical Provider (LMP) will decide if annual renewals are appropriate.

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Published March 14, 2023

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