Using medical cannabis for pain management to be topic of talk

MICHAEL BACKES, Cannabis researcher

Michael Backes, a renowned medical cannabis researcher and author of “Cannabis Pharmacy,” will be at University of Hawaii Maui College from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday to discuss medical cannabis and chronic pain.

Backes, a member of Maui Grown Therapies Science & Medical Advisory Board, will share the latest research on cannabinoids in pain management and how medical cannabis, under a physician’s supervision, may provide an adjunct or alternative to prescription opiates in the treatment of pain.

The $20 event fee includes class materials and a hot buffet lunch at the Leis Family Class Act Restaurant. Seating is limited; tickets are available at

Pain is the most common condition for which physicians recommend cannabis and for which patients report using it. According to the Hawaii Department of Health, 65 percent of the state’s registered patients use cannabis therapy to manage pain.

“Cannabis is often effective for providing relief or distraction from several common types of severe pain, including complex regional pain, neuropathies, intractable cancer pain and more,” said Backes. “What many people don’t know is that studies have shown that higher-dose inhaled cannabis often offers no more pain relief than lower doses. In fact, higher doses may result in increased pain. One of the topics I will cover is how patients can find their own optimal dose to manage pain. 

“Because chronic pain treatment often involves the use of prescription opiates, I will also discuss how medical cannabis may also be used to reduce the likelihood of opioid dependency and perhaps even some of the symptoms associated with coming off opiates. Cannabis medicines have been considered to be “opioid-sparing” since the Civil War, since cannabis treatments can often reduce the amount of opiates needed to effectively treat pain.”