People increasingly are turning to marijuana to manage pain. Recent research from McLean Hospital in Boston and Harvard University indicates they may be onto something, reporting that long-term use of medical cannabis proved effective to manage pain among a group of patients.
The study reported on research involving 37 patients who used cannabis to treat pain for six months. The conditions causing pain included arthritis, joint pain and neuropathy. They used cannabis through smoking, vaping, oils and edibles.
All the test subjects had either never used marijuana or had not used it for at least one year. The patients reported not only a reduction in pain, but also lower anxiety and improved sleep, mood, and quality of life.
What’s more, their use of opioids declined 13 percent after three months and 23 percent after six months. That mirrored other studies that have found lower use of prescription painkillers in places where marijuana is legal.
Most People Use Medical Marijuana to Manage Pain
While medical marijuana is approved to treat a variety of conditions, managing pain is the top reason people use it.
A study involving data from patients in 36 states and the District of Columbia looked at the qualifying conditions for using medical marijuana. A majority of patients listed chronic pain – about 65 percent of all patients. Also, 84.6 percent reported either “substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy.”
That’s what has made the Harvard study, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, so important. Most people have an interest in medical marijuana, at least initially, to treat chronic pain.