Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication

A group of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Kent State University analyzed a set of 2,897 patient reported outcomes regarding cannabis and its use in pain relief in conjunction with opiates.

“… this study can conclude that medical cannabis patients report successfully using cannabis along with or as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication… patients in this study who are using cannabis and opioids report that they are able to use less opioids and that cannabis presents less unwanted side effects than their opioid based medication.

In addition, 80% of patients reported that cannabis by itself was more effective than their opioids. It is possible that the variability of individual endocannabinoid and endo-opioid systems results in varying levels of efficacy between the two treatments. For example, a recent review released by the National Academy of Sciences reports conclusive evidence cannabis’ efficacy in treating chronic pain, but localized versus neuropathic pain might demand different approaches.

Cannabis has been found to be very useful in treating neuropathic pain specifically. This study found a similar pattern of results when looking at substituting cannabis for nonopioid-based pain medication like Tylenol and Advil. Research suggests that long-term use of these remedies might lead to organ damage. With cannabis not only becoming more accepted in the mainstream but also coming in a variety of preparations, some of which are nonintoxicating, more people are looking at cannabis as a viable treatment for everyday ailments such as muscle soreness and inflammation.”

The full text of research published can be found here.

Additional information can also be found on NORML’s blog here.

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