The Use of Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain: A Grounded Theory Exploration of Patient Experience

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Vyas, Marianne, Nursing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Bullock, Linda, NR-Nursing: Faculty, University of Virginia

Cannabis has been approved in 29 states within the United States and is being used therapeutically for many conditions, but little is known about the phenomenon of it being used for chronic neuropathic pain. This constructivist grounded theory study utilized primary data (N=20) to explore the experience of using cannabis to alleviate chronic neuropathic pain. A theory of negotiating power over pain was generated to describe the underlying etiology for the use of cannabis. The central process of solo navigation describes cannabis use without the oversight of healthcare providers. Cannabis is being used as a harm reduction strategy to avoid prescription opioid medication in people with chronic neuropathic pain. This dissertation adds to the understanding of medical cannabis use for improved quality of life. Researchers, nurses, healthcare providers, and policy makers need to consider cannabis as a harm reduction strategy, while continuing to monitor its harms by promoting rescheduling of cannabis on the Controlled Substances Act, developing education about the endocannabinoid system, and promoting research and prescribing standards.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
cannabis, medical marijuana, prescription opioid medication, quality of life, neuropathic pain, harm reduction
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