This is a common theme we hear at the dispensary. We see patients with pain or anxiety each day who visit us for one of two reasons:

  • out of desperation because their pain management program has cut them off or
  • their opiate prescriber has suggested they switch to medical marijuana because they are not permitted to prescribe as many opiates.

The problem is that not all healthcare practitioners are on the same page with cannabis care. This case gets even more complicated with the involvement of the parole office. The regulations followed by the parole office include that it is ok if their parolees have a valid prescription for opiates and test positive for opiates but NOT if parolees have a valid recommendation and test positive for THC in the medical marijuana program.

Why the disparity? You can argue that a patient treating their pain with cannabis is at less risk of harm taking medical marijuana than opiates. We now know that the risk of addiction and toxicity is higher with opiates than with cannabis . And while the stigma from prohibition is starting to go away, the education about the endocannabinoid system in medical schools has not kept pace with the overwhelming majority of states that have a legal program. Furthermore, law enforcement is still trying to understand these medical programs, the legal limits, and what the risks are with cannabis compared to other medications.


The patient described above has continued to push for more awareness. He convinced the parole board to allow him to provide his list of cannabis medications he purchases to verify he is using the legal program correctly. Now when he tests positive for THC, it only means he is taking his cannabis properly. This patient has also received his certification to become a crisis counselor and works side by side with law enforcement to help patients who have overdosed to hopefully convince them to get into a program to treat opioid use disorder.


At FRX Health Dispensaries we will always advocate for our patients! We want you to get the medicine you need in this program and appreciate when you tell us your stories. Visit us at or DM us on Instagram. To speak with our Director of Pharmacy contact: [email protected].

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