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Study Finds Cannabis Safe For Pain Management And An Effective Opioid Substitute

The Canadian study adds to the growing amount of research that has not only found that marijuana is effective in treating pain, but may also work well as a substitute for opioids.

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A new study that hails from Canada further confirms the amazing efficacy of cannabis for pain.

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It reports patients experienced relief using cannabis for pain and reduced or eliminated the use of potentially dangerous opioids altogether. The study’s findings build upon those from earlier research that found marijuana helps with pain management for those who suffer from chronic pain. The study includes hemp oil and CBD, which research shows is also very effective in pain management.

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The new study, published in the Pain Medicine Journal, reported that patients who use cannabis daily had prolonged improvements in pain management and increased quality of life.  

They not only experienced relief in one-month-long timeframes but also over the entire 12 months they participated in the study. Starting at about three months, patients began to feel improvement in overall physical and mental health. 

The researchers wrote: “Taken together, the findings of this study add to the cumulative evidence in support of plant-based medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment option and potential opioid medication substitute or augmentation therapy for the management of symptoms and quality of life in chronic pain patients.”

The patients also experienced other benefits from using cannabis.

The Toronto-based researchers set out to determine the effect of medical cannabis on chronic pain over the course of one year. They evaluated 751 patients at a clinic that specializes in medical cannabis. The study ended in March 2019.

Only 60 percent of patients in the study said they had any previous experience using cannabis either for recreation or medical purposes.

Reductions in pain severity started about one month into study. In addition to improved pain management, patients also experienced “significant decreases” in headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and nausea. 

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Importantly, patients who reported using opioids for pain management stopped using them as frequently after they experienced a reduction in the amount of pain when using marijuana.

In a statement, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “These outcomes add to the growing body of literature supportive of the therapeutic use of cannabis as an opioid-sparing analgesic agent.”

Other studies have found that cannabis is effective for pain management.

Previous studies have reached much the same conclusions as those made by Canadian researchers. It’s led to experts recommending CBD for pain, including oils, lotions, and edibles. Patients have reported experiencing pain reduction and better sleep by using CBD oils.

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Scientific studies out of Minnesota and Israel in 2018 were among the first to directly connect cannabis and treating chronic pain. In the Minnesota study, more than half of the people involved reported that they experienced a high level of benefit from cannabis in treating chronic pain.

The sheer amount of research in recent years showing that cannabis is effective and safe in treating pain is impossible to ignore. It also bolsters the argument for making marijuana legal at the federal level and has many people continuing to wonder why opioids are legal but weed is not.

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