Patients diagnosed with chronic pain experience sustained relief from the use of medical cannabis, and many of them reduce or eliminate their use of analgesic drugs over time, according to longitudinal data published in the European Journal of Pain.
A team of Israeli investigators evaluated the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis treatment over a one-year period in patients with chronic pain. Most subjects in the study consumed cannabis via smoking.
Following treatment, subjects’ average pain intensity declined from baseline by 20 percent. Nearly half of the subjects who had been using analgesic medications at the start of trial were no longer using them by the study’s end.
Authors reported: “Forty-three percent of the patients who had been using analgesic medications prior to MC [medical cannabis] treatment initiation were no longer using them. This was true for all classes of analgesic drugs including over the counter analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants and antidepressants. As for opioid use, 24 percent and 20 percent of the participants who had been using weak or strong opioids, respectively, at baseline stopped using them by the time they reached the 12-month follow-up.”
They concluded, “This prospective study provides further evidence for the effects of medical cannabis on chronic pain and related symptoms, demonstrating an overall mild-to-modest long-term improvement of the tested measures and identifying possible predictors for treatment success.”