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Thread: New study suggests medical cannabis helps chronic pain patients reduce opioid use

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Default New study suggests medical cannabis helps chronic pain patients reduce opioid use

    Mike Riggs
    Nov. 28, 2017

    Chronic pain patients who enroll in New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program while using prescription opioids are likely to reduce their dosage of opioids and even to cease using opioids altogether, according to a new study from researchers at the University of New Mexico.

    Participants in the program also reported "improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and few side effects from using cannabis one year after enrollment in the MCP."

    Published earlier this month in the open access journal PLOS One, the study had a small sample size: 37 of the surveyed patients enrolled in the marijuana program, while 29 used opioids alone. The study also relied on a cohort model rather than a randomized control trial. That means investigators had no say over who ended up in the comparison group versus the Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) group.

    The UNM researchers concluded the "clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations." That finding dovetails neatly with a growing body of research that medical marijuana works as well as some prescription drugs for the treatment of pain, while imposing fewer side effects on users.

    Researchers at the University of Michigan, for instance, reported in 2016 that chronic pain patients participating in Michigan's medical marijuana program reported a large reduction in opioid use and improved quality of life. Other studies have found that doctors in medical marijuana states prescribe fewer prescription drugs, and that states with legal medical marijuana have experienced a smaller increase in opioid overdose rates compared to states where medical marijuana is not legal.

    Albert Einstein College of Medicine announced earlier this year it had received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health to conduct a five-year study on medical marijuana's potential to reduce opioid use in patients with chronic pain.

    The more of these studies I see, the more I'm reminded of something psychiatrist Scott Alexander noted about the renaissance in psychedelic research: "There's a morality tale to be told here about how the War on Drugs choked off vital research on some of the most powerful psychiatric compounds and cost us fifty years in exploring these effects and treating patients." Marijuana's schedule I status precluded it from competing with prescription opioids in the early 1990s as a treatment for chronic pain. That it remains in schedule I, despite a procession of state-level reforms, precludes today's medical professionals and patients from using it the way they use far more potent drugs.

    I'm not convinced we need marijuana to be a perfect substitute for prescription opioids, but it seems pretty obvious that chronic pain patientsólike PTSD and anxiety patients who want to try MDMA, or depression patients who wish to try psilocybinówould benefit from a wider range of legal drug options than they currently have.

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  3. #2


    Pot may be the miracle drug. To bad it was banned by politics.

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    Jan 2007


    Thank You - Now would someone tell the VA that? I suffer from PTSD. which studies have shown the MMJ helps with - Waking up at night bolt upright screaming is not the most wonderful thing in the world. Now Policy is, You cannot have Opioids and Benzodiazepines, I suffer from PTSD,(anxiety and Insomnia - you have to pick one - that is B.S. I was on this regimen for twenty years, got my Opioids cut in half, fun stuff, now my Xanax is tapered and will be discontinued. that stinks.. In states where MMJ is legal , you are supposed to be able to use it, No Dice, My RNP, I guess i don't rate a full Doc anymore, even though I enlisted to get my butt shoot off, says "it's still illegal on the federal level even though the Sec. of the VA says in states where it is legal it's OK. B.S. IMHO, I will not use the words i want too, the VA DOES provide some good care at the big facilities, but the little CBOC'S (Community Based Outpatient Clincs) S=== - all political nonsense. Sorry about the Vent but you hit a nerve.

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  6. #4


    I have been using CBD oil, no THC, 50 ml twice a day, and I've been able to cut my opioid use nearly in half.
    The only problem I have, and I'd like to know if anyone else using CBD has experienced an irritation and sore throat as a result of swallowing pure CBD oil.
    Please respond if you have had any experience like that.

  7. #5
    Community Member Lil E's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Fremont, CA


    I used a 1% THC, 16% CBD hybrid to help come down from 48 mgs of dilaudid a day to 3 mgs. Unfortunately that was too low and I had two surgeries this year so I'm back in pain management, no Cannabis allowed. I was using a 16% indica for sleep also and I really miss it. Low dose Opiate and Cannabis work well together, I wish they would study that.
    If no pain, no gain is true, where is everything I should have gained?
    DDD, Fibro, CFS, pain for 20 years. ADR c 5/6 Feb. 2018 doing well.
    Back to pain management, fibromyalgia getting worse.

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