The chronic: Is your pain real enough for dope, young man?

Medically diagnosed chronic pain has led an increasing number of men under 30 to visit Colorado’s expanding number of medical marijuana facilities. State health officials are looking into the matter. Young men shouldn’t be in chronic pain. And why is so much of the pain concentrated in Boulder?

The Coloradoan reports that state health officials have gone from noting the trend to looking into it more closely with an eye to rooting out any abuse of the system.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Thursday the number of male medical marijuana registrants younger than age 30 has risen sharply in the past year, and state officials suspect some doctors prescribing the drug may be doing so improperly.


Most of the younger men in the registry are being prescribed marijuana for chronic or severe pain.

The problem, said Colorado Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge, is that few men younger than 30 should be experiencing such pain.


“We are evaluating strategies that might allow us to assure that physicians documenting a diagnosis of chronic or severe pain are doing so within the standards of medical care,” Calonge said, adding that the state may consider steps to prevent abuse of the marijuana registry program.

Fort Collins medical marijuana dispensary owners say they’re skeptical of the state’s claims.


Overall, Larimer County registrants represent 10 percent of the total registrants statewide. Larimer County is fifth in the state behind Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson and Denver counties.

Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge recommended that young men in chronic pain that is not strictly medical should return to their former pain-relief regimen of cheap beer, Jim Beam and shouting at each other in parking lots. No he didn’t say that. I just made that up.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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