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Prescription-Pain-Pill Use Fell As Medical-Cannabis Use Grew, Report Says

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For years, Elizabeth used prescription pain medicine to relieve her symptoms from her rare and painful gastrointestinal condition, sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, until she smoked cannabis for the first time in November 2018 at her doctor’s recommendation. 

“He had told me at one point in time, ‘You know, if we were in a state that would allow for medical marijuana, I would write a prescription immediately. I am telling you as your doctor and your friend: If you can find it, if you can get it and it helps, go for it,’” she told the Mississippi Free Press in an interview on April 29.

Elizabeth asked to go by a pseudonym instead of her real name because she works in Tennessee, where medical and recreational cannabis are both illegal.

She had taken hydrocodone, had several surgeries and even tried CBD, but nothing was alleviating her pain. Doctors increased her dosages and then prescribed her fentanyl patches because she was hurting all day, every day, for seven days a week. Before her dad passed, Elizabeth made a promise to him that she would find a way to get off the narcotics. So, she listened to her doctor, stopped taking the medicine “cold turkey” and smoked weed for the first time on Nov. 28, 2018.

“And that was the last pain pill I took aside from having some dental work done a few years ago,” she said. She used to take a dozen prescription medications but is now down to just three.

At the time, Elizabeth lived in Tennessee, so she bought marijuana from street dealers. She found out in 2022 that Mississippi had legalized medical cannabis and decided to move to the Magnolia State, where she would also be closer to her family. She moved to Long Beach, Miss., in July 2023 and got her medical-cannabis card in October. 

“I feel more in control on marijuana. I don’t have to worry about

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