About 50 million US adults have chronic pain, which is one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care.
Chronic pain can happen for many reasons including as a result of chronic conditions (e.g. arthritis and diabetes), autoimmune disorders (e.g. lupus), past injuries, and other reasons. Chronic pain can limit the quality of life.
For some people with chronic pain, there may not be obvious evidence of an underlying reason. Managing chronic pain can be difficult.
As more states legalize cannabis (also known as marijuana) for medical and recreational use, increasing numbers of people are experimenting with it for pain relief.
In a study from the University of Michigan, scientists found almost a third of patients with chronic pain reported using cannabis to manage it.
In the study, the team found more than half of the 1,724 people surveyed reported that using cannabis led them to decrease the use of pain medications, including prescription opioids and over-the-counter analgesics.
Cannabis also affected the use of other non-drug related pain relief methods to various degrees:
Some people indicated that cannabis led them to turn less often to techniques that many clinical guidelines recommend as first-line therapies such as physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, while others with chronic pain increased their use of such treatments.
The team says the fact that patients report substituting cannabis for pain medications so much underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of using cannabis for chronic pain.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that painkiller ibuprofen may strongly influence your liver, and results showing Marijuana for pain relief may lead to withdrawal symptoms.
The study was conducted by Mark Bicket et al and published in JAMA Network Open.
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