Cannabis Patient Study

In a 2017 article published in the journal Pain, 984 medical cannabis
users reported significant improved perceptions of multiple varieties
of pain including back pain, arthritis, neuropathic, post-surgical,
abdominal pain, and headaches.  The study investigated perceptions of
treatment by current and previous patients.  The majority of subjects
reported overall improvement in perception of pain and quality of
life.  They appreciated the high safety profile and extremely minimal
potential of overdose.

Read the Patient Study

Cannabis as a Treatment for Chronic Pain

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes including pain relief and psychological symptoms for thousands of years. The prohibition of cannabis in the middle of the 20th century had arrested cannabis research. The term “medical cannabis” refers to physician-recommended use of the cannabis plant and its components, called cannabinoids, to treat disease or improve symptoms. Chronic pain is the most commonly cited reason for using medical cannabis [1],[2],[3]. Preclinical studies in animals using both pharmacological and genetic approaches have increased our understanding of the mechanisms of cannabinoid-induced analgesia and provided therapeutic strategies for treating pain in humans. Multiple recent meta-analyses of clinical trials in humans have examined the use of medical cannabis in chronic pain.  The findings present a moderate amount of evidence that cannabis/cannabinoids exhibit analgesic activity, especially in neuropathic pain. These studies do have limitations, however the results are promising for use of marijuana as a safe and effective alternative to current medicine and interventional pain treatments.  Adverse effects in the short-term medical use of cannabis are generally mild to moderate, well tolerated and short lived. However, there are scant data regarding the long-term safety of medical cannabis use. Studies are currently underway to help better understand long-term effects of the therapeutic use of medical cannabis and to provide definitive answers to physicians and patients regarding the risk and benefits of its use for pain. In conclusion, the evidence from current research supports the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain in adults.

  • 2015 review of research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the use of marijuana and cannabinoids for various chronic pain conditions reports that several trials had positive results. Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence. The researchers suggest that marijuana or cannabinoids may be effective for treating some types of chronic pain including neuropathy (nerve pain).
  • A research paper in the June 2016 Journal of Pain found that marijuana use for cancer pain led to a 64-percent reduction in opioid use, improved quality of life, and caused fewer medication side effects. It also led to participants using fewer medications.
  • In the January 2006 volume of Rheumatology the first controlled trial evaluating a cannabis based medicine for treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis showed a significant analgesic (pain relieving) effect and significant suppression if disease activity among study participants.
  • A recent small study in Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology is the first to report on cannabis used for chronic pelvic pain.  The study including 135 women suffering from chronic pelvic pain found medical cannabis to be a safe treatment with minimal side effects that can improve chronic pelvic pain and reduce opioid use.  These findings are encouraging and may be applicable to those suffering from the pain of endometriosis.
  • In a January 2106 article published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, the monthly frequency of migraine headaches among 121 adult migraine sufferers after initiating the use of marijuana decreased.  This is one of the first studies to report decreased frequency of headaches and report that 90% of study subjects were successfully using marijuana for treatment and prevention of migraine headaches.
  • Recent epidemiological studies have provided initial evidence for a possible reduction in opioid pharmacotherapy for pain as a result of increased implementation of medical cannabis regimens.

[1] Bestrashniy J, Winters KC. Variability in medical marijuana laws in the United States. Psychol Addict Behav. 2015;29:639–642 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Light MK, Orens A, Lewandowski B, et al. Market size and demand for marijuana in Colorado. The Marijuana Policy Group. 2014. Available at www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Market%20Size%20and%20Demand%20Study,%20July%209,%202014%5B1%5D.pdf (last accessed November17, 2016)

[2] Light MK, Orens A, Lewandowski B, et al. Market size and demand for marijuana in Colorado. The Marijuana Policy Group. 2014. Available at www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Market%20Size%20and%20Demand%20Study,%20July%209,%202014%5B1%5D.pdf (last accessed November17, 2016)

[3]  Ilgen MA, Bohnert K, Kleinberg F, et al. Characteristics of adults seeking medical marijuana certification. Drug Alcohol Depen. 2013;132:654–659 [PubMed] [Google Scholar]