ASA Releases Cannabis Study on Pain Management


Contact Rev. Mary Nichols 
Cell 304-382-4939
Website http://compassionwv.og

August 9, 2016



Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released a report entitled “Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment: A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis” in an effort to “educate legislators and health practitioners on the benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment option for the millions of patients suffering from chronic pain.”

** Cannabis is a long-recognized, safe and effective tool for pain management.

Unlike opiates, a lethal overdose from cannabis has never been recorded during its 9,000-year use as it cannot stop a person from breathing. THC, a psychoactive component in the cannabis plant, works together with prescription opioid medications to increase effectiveness of the pain relief, to reduce the dose of opioids used, and to reduces likelihood of becoming addicted. Patients who substitute cannabis for prescription opioids to control pain report they experience less adverse side effects, less potential for withdrawal and better symptom management.

** Patients dependent on opioid medications continue to benefit from medical cannabis and state governments with medical cannabis regulatory programs continue to benefit.

Several studies have now demonstrated a reduction in opioid mortality from overdose in those states that have adopted medical cannabis regulatory programs. This was first reported in August 2014 by an oft-cited study in JAMA and has been since been confirmed by the work of analysts at the RAND Corporation through a series of reports.) Not only is the effect significant – at least 25% reduction has been reported – but it appears to strengthen over time. Some evidence exists to show that pain patients will seek out medical cannabis solutions over prescription drug solutions for management of symptoms in those markets that allow legal access to both.

** Compassion West Virginia is the Mountain State’s leading patient advocate and authority on the use of cannabis as a medicine and is working to engage & educate West Virginia legislators.

Compassion West Virginia encourages all advocates, citizens and state and local legislators to understand the contents of this important document. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that opioids—a class of drugs that includes prescription pain medications and heroin—were involved in 28,648 deaths in and 80% of the world’s supply is consumed by just 5% of the world’s population. West Virginia has a remarkably high domestic share of this 5% and all possible solutions must be put on the table. The opiate crisis has now even claimed such victims as Berkeley County Sheriff Candidate John Orem. (See ) No segment of West Virginia is untouched by the looming shadow of addiction and death, including our veterans and our law enforcement.

We hope state leaders like Governor Tomblin, Senators Manchin and Capito Moore, Attorney General Morrissey and all our locally elected officials take note of these findings and the potential to help heal our citizens and create a more prosperous West Virginia. We hope all those running for office this November take note of these findings and seek to learn more.

Compassion West Virginia advocates that West Virginia implement practical yet protective cannabis regulatory programs immediately that provide high-quality and affordable products to patients in need. Please help the movement by visiting our web site ( to donate and join the cause.

About CompassionWV
The Compassion West Virginia Foundation was established recently as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to work toward comprehensive medical cannabis reform in West Virginia. Achieving this goal will be instrumental for (1) WV patients who are suffering debilitating diseases and other chronic conditions that do not respond to the treatments offered by traditional medicine; (2) reversing the epidemic of drug overdose deaths in WV related to opiate addiction; and (3) revitalizing the WV economy through the enactment of practical yet protective regulation of medical cannabis, job creation, and taxation of a new industry.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Rev. Mary Nichols at 304-382-4939 or email at

Jamie Butcher


Weston WV Man, Paralyzed From the Neck Down, Dreams of Becoming a Bodybuilder

Weston, WV— On September 12, 2012, Jamie Butcher was involved in a devastating car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. The car in front of him, which had no working brake lights, slammed on the brakes, causing Jamie to rear-end the car at 35 mph.  Jamie was transported to the local hospital emergency room, where a CT scan suggested that nothing was wrong beyond being in shock from the accident. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The mangled remains of Jamie’s truck

The emergency room staff removed Jamie’s neck brace, and his wife, Lisa began to help dress him with the assistance of Jamie’s father. When Jamie attempted to stand, he started sliding off the bed and insisted that something was badly wrong. The emergency room staff, with the assistance of Jamie’s family, wrestled him back into bed, all without the neck brace. Jamie, who had no sensation from the neck down, demanded to be sent to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, despite the objections of the hospital staff, who continued to insist that Jamie was merely in shock. At Ruby, Jamie underwent a thorough neurological evaluation and an MRI, which showed a herniation of the C3 disk pressing on the main electrical pathway from Jamie’s brain. Jamie’s surgeon, Dr. Scott Daffner, removed part of the C3 vertebra in order to remove the disk material pressing on Jamie’s spinal cord. Dr. Daffner then used cadaver bone, 2 plates, and 8 titanium screws to stabilize Jamie’s cervical spine.



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American Pain Society Issues New Guidance on Medical Marijuana

A marijuana leaf is displayed at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. Picture taken November 27, 2012.  REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

The strongest evidence in terms of the therapeutic benefits from herbal cannabis, specifically cannabinoids, suggests analgesic effects, with a lengthy list of other possible benefits, including anticonvulsant activity, relief of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, migraine relief, and inflammatory bowel disease.

“The problem is that most of the benefits are simply not well studied, with the exception of FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] indications for antiemetic and antinausea properties associated with chemotherapy and for wasting associated with HIV,” Dr Savage said.


Mary Nichols: Our Founding Patient

In 2008, Mary Nichols was working to change her life. Through diet and exercise, she lost nearly 70 pounds and was fit enough to walk 3 miles every day.

The problem was that Mary was also in severe pain. She spent most nights awake in the recliner playing games online as a distraction from the severe nerve pain that made it impossible to lie down and sleep.

Mary went through all of the protocols for conservative treatment for low back pain.

An MRI showed nothing that really explained the severe, searing pain Mary experienced on a daily basis. Just a few bulging disks. Nothing to worry about. But the pain didn’t go away.

Eventually, doctors at a local pain clinic in Charleston, WV convinced Mary that a spinal cord neuro-stimulator was the only option that was left. 



An MRI showed nothing that really explained the severe, searing pain Mary experienced on a daily basis. Just a few bulging disks. Nothing to worry about. But the pain didn’t go away.

Continue reading “Mary Nichols: Our Founding Patient”