Two new study from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute found medical marijuana could be a viable alternative to opioid painkillers for people dealing with arthritis or chronic back pain.
They found many patients prescribed opioids for their chronic pain wound up taking fewer painkillers—or stopping them altogether—after doctors certified them for medical cannabis.
They saw a decrease in approximately 40% of opioid use after starting medical cannabis, with 37% to 38% of patients completely discontinuing opioid use altogether.
The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and conducted by Dr. Asif Ilyas et al.
For the studies, the team recruited 186 patients with chronic back pain and 40 patients with chronic arthritis pain.
Between February 2018 and July 2019, doctors certified the patients to purchase medical marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania.
The patients were allowed to use pot as they chose—some vaped or smoked, while others used edibles.
The team then tracked the patients’ opioid painkiller use for six months using a state-run prescription drug monitoring database.
They found average daily opioid prescriptions for arthritis patients declined during the study period. Back pain patients also experience a reduction in their average daily opioid prescriptions.
About 37% of arthritis patients and 38% of back pain patients quit opioid painkillers altogether.
Patients in both groups experienced a reduction in their pain symptoms and an improvement in their physical health.
Medical cannabis also doesn’t appear to carry the same risk of addiction as opioid painkillers.
The team says these results provide fresh evidence for the potential to treat pain with medical pot.
More research is needed, in part, to convince insurance companies to cover the cost of medical pot as they do prescription opioids.
Recent studies have found that high-potency cannabis may affect your memory functions, and cannabis could help fight resistant bacteria, which are relevant to the current study.
In a recent study from the University of Otago and published in the Journal of Women’s Health, researchers found that some women desperate for relief from the chronic pain of endometriosis have found using cannabis provides more effective relief from their symptoms than other over-the-counter or prescribed medication.
Of the 213 women surveyed who had ever used cannabis—either prescribed or illicit—for their endometriosis symptoms, 170 (almost 80%) were current users.
The researchers found cannabis provides patients with some relief or benefit with 98% reporting no negative side effects.
In the study, the team did an online survey of those taking cannabis for health-related conditions that ran between May and July 2019.
This paper then took the sub-group of those where endometriosis was self-identified as a that was being treated with cannabis.
Of the 213 women in the study, the majority used cannabis for pain relief (96%) and to improve sleep (96%).
Respondents reported that their symptoms were “much better” for pain (81%), sleep (79%) and nausea or vomiting (61%).
Some 81% of women showed cannabis had reduced their normal medication usage and 50% had completely stopped taking their medication—most commonly analgesics, such as paracetamol, and opioids.
This finding suggests that patients’ current treatments and medications may not be meeting their needs.
This could be for a variety of reasons including both that cannabis may be more effective in managing some of the patients’ symptoms and also possibly that it has fewer negative side effects than some prescribed medications.
If you care about pain, please read studies about cannabis hemp oil may effectively treat chronic neuropathic pain and findings of a new way to treat chronic pain.
For more information about pain, please see recent studies about scientists discover brain center that strongly shuts down pain, and results showing more than half of Americans suffer from back pain and leg pain.
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