EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Before buying cannabis at South Jersey’s only medical-marijuana dispensary, patients must circle one of six animated faces that stare out from a clipboard.

The row of smiling, wincing, frowning, and sobbing cartoon faces is being used to rank the degree of pain that patients experience due to cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and several other conditions the state deems treatable by cannabis.

When the patients return to the Compassionate Care Foundation dispensary in Egg Harbor Township for a refill, they again are handed the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale so that the effect of the marijuana can be assessed.

The results so far are “absolutely dramatic,” said Suzanne Miller, a researcher with a Ph.D. who sits on the dispensary’s board of trustees. Miller is also a professor and the director of behavioral medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple Health in Philadelphia. About 80 percent of the 145 CCF patients who completed the rankings at least twice over the last two months have charted significant improvement, she said.
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Still being collected and analyzed, the data show that on average, most patients are reporting their pain levels decreased by 30 to 50 […]

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