Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Improved Pain Relief
Medical marijuana heralds a new champion, as recent research shows it can not only improve quality of life but reduce dependence on opioids
For many suffers, chronic pain can make life unbearable, not just for them but close friends and family as they watch their loved ones struggle day in and day out. Despite a vast array of opiate drugs existing to help manage this pain, a lot of these prescription drugs can have unpleasant side effects. This latest study by the Hebrew University could go some way to backing the use of cannabis in managing pain relief, providing a seemingly more natural approach.
This latest study from academics in Israel took a selection of 176 candidates to measure their relief from pain following a course of medical marijuana. Results showed an overall decrease in opioid consumption by 44% throughout the group. The measurement of pain was submitted using scores obtained through the S-TOPS (Treatment Outcomes in Pain Survey). This survey also asked questions about physical, social and emotional impacts throughout the treatment to understand the wider impact on candidates lives.
As well as the reduction in opioid use, it was the reduction in pain and the management of that pain that presented the most promising findings. Over half of the candidates (66%) reported a reduction in their pain symptom scores at the end of the trial. This reduction in pain helped them to manage sleep patterns and dealing with the interference of the pain within their everyday lives.
Publishers of the study summarized that “prospective cohort resulted in improved pain and functional outcomes”
The success of this trial is not stand alone. In 2015, a similar study was conducted by researchers at Mcgill University in Montreal. The paper published in the “Journal of Pain” looked at the effects of long-term medical cannabis use in managing pain. They concluded that not only did the subjects experience “improvements in pain, function, quality of life and cognitive function” but appeared to have a “reasonable safety profile”. Essentially, long term use of cannabis in this situation does not turn everyone into paranoid, schizophrenic wrecks. A reaction to prolonged cannabis use that is often touted by the media.
Both these studies show a clear indicator of medical cannabis being an effective means of managing pain, helping to improve their overall quality of life. It is the study observed in Israel that brings further backing with a reduced opioid use in candidates providing some much-needed backbone to the use of medical marijuana on a larger scale. However given the scale of this study and the number of variables that are unaccounted for, it is clear that further research needs to be conducted. A review of the type of opioid used, as well as which ones presented the best reduction in use would help to further concrete medical marijuana's status, whilst a wider cohort would help to capture and pinpoint the specific conditions that it can be used to aid.
There's no doubting that the majority of candidates in this study benefited from the use of medical cannabis, bolstering the arguments for its use. An improvement in overall quality of life when dealing with chronic pain ailments gives these sufferers some light at the end of the tunnel when helping to resume normal routines. The reduction in opioid use also provides them with options, and a means to help manage any side effects they may experience as a result of prolonged use.
Written by: Lucas
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