To explore the subjective experience of pain relief by cannabis.
Qualitative data were collected through in-depth semistructured interviews. Interview transcripts were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).
Nineteen patients, aged 28 to 79, who were treated with medical cannabis under the supervision of a pain clinic in Israel.
Three key themes that emerged from the analysis were explored: 1) the Sigh of Relief, describing the corporal sensation of using cannabis, including a sense of relaxation and reduction in pain; 2) the Return to Normality, describing the comprehensive effect of using cannabis, including an increased ability to sleep, focus, and function; and 3) the Side Effects of using cannabis.
We propose the term Restored Self to conceptualize the effect of medical cannabis. Restored Self is the experience of regaining one’s sense of self, sense of normality, and sense of control over one’s life.