Pragmatic Trials of Tailored Cannabis Coaching to Improve Pain, Anxiety, and Insomnia Symptoms among Veterans

Life Course

Project Summary

UM Anesthesiology, Co-PIs Dr. Kevin Boehnke et al., Daniel James Kruger
Reducing symptoms that increase risk of suicide among Veterans, such as chronic pain, is essential to addressing the high burden of Veteran suicide mortality. Recent legal changes regarding cannabis for treating chronic pain symptoms provides a potential approach to meeting this need. However, little is known about how descheduled cannabidiol (CBD) products affect pain symptoms. Further, current cannabis use patterns vary widely and are not typically guided by recommendations or treatment plans. This variability makes it difficult to examine how cannabis use impacts health. We propose two concurrent pragmatic clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of: 1) commercially available cannabidiol (CBD) products on chronic pain symptoms; 2) evidence-based education to optimize medical cannabis use for chronic pain management. Both trials will employ community-engaged approaches to center Veteran voices, increasing project impact and recruitment efforts. In trial 1, we will randomize Veterans with chronic pain to receive CBD products or placebo to investigate CBD’s effectiveness as a first-line cannabinoid analgesic. In trial 2, we will randomize study participants who wish to optimize medical cannabis use to either be waitlisted or immediately receive evidence-based, tailored guidance on how to appropriately use the products they obtain from state-licensed dispensaries. The tailored educational guidance will draw from the scientific literature and clinical expertise of scientists and physicians who work directly with medical cannabis patients. Together, these projects will elucidate cannabis’s potential role in aiding Veterans with chronic pain management to ultimately reduce suicide risk.
Funding source: The State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Marijuana Regulatory Agency
Funding period: 9/1/22-8/31/27


The State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Project Period


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