Advocates say cannabis could play a role in pain reduction, and they’re getting help from lawmakers at the federal and state levels.

By Rose Hoban

In North Carolina, an average of five people per day have a fatal overdose from an opioid, either heroin or a prescription drug. But anesthesiologist James Taylor thinks many – if not most – of those deaths could have been avoided if there were better management of pain and the drugs that people get to treat their pain.

Taylor, who practices in Southern Pines, got involved more extensively in treating pain about six years ago.

Southern Pines anesthesiologist James Taylor has been treating pain with complementary techniques for six years. He believes that using cannabinoids will become a more accepted part of pain treatment. Photo credit: Rose Hoban

“We started having pill mills, folks coming up from Florida into our communities and my primary care colleagues had been asking me to please take over the medical management of pain,” Taylor said recently.

So, Taylor got a number of practitioners together in one room.

“I had people who worked with yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, public health,” he said. “Anybody who thought they had an opinion about how to manage pain.”

Taylor said his decision resulted in a completely new practice, Integrated Pain Solutions, where he initially had all the different practitioners under one roof.

For instance, he said that with a chiropractor nearby, “he’d say, ‘Check that hot joint, let me adjust it,’” during the same visit where Taylor might be doing an injection in the joint.

“Then the patient miraculously did better and didn’t need another joint injection,” he said.

Lately, however, Taylor is doubling down on a new way to manage pain: Cannabis.

Green spaces in the law

Congress in 2014 allowed

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