Study: Majority Of Chronic Pain Patients Replace Opioids With Cannabis

More than two-thirds of chronic pain patients registered to legally access medical cannabis products substitute marijuana for prescription opioids, according to data published in The Journal of Headache and Pain.

Investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of over 2,000 Canadian patients licensed to access marijuana products. Among those patients with a primary diagnosis of chronic pain, 73 percent reported substituting cannabis in place of opioids. Among those patients diagnosed specifically with headache/migraine, cannabis was frequently reported as a substitute for other medications – including opiates (43 percent), anti-depressants (39 percent), NSAIDS (21 percent), triptans (8 percent), and anti-convulsants (8 percent).

“Most patients in the pain groups reported replacing prescription medications with medicinal cannabis, the most common of which were opiates/opioids across all patient groups,” authors concluded. “This is notable given the well-described ‘opioid-sparing effect’ of cannabinoids and growing abundance of literature suggesting that cannabis may help in weaning from these medications and perhaps providing a means of combating the opioid epidemic.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of numerous others finding that patients in medical cannabis access programs significantly reduce or eventually eliminate their use of opioid analgesics over the long-term.

Full text of the study, “Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort,” appears online here.

13 thoughts

  1. Thank you Paul; these are links we can paste to our next letter to our Congressman by clicking on the ACT tab of this webpage.

    “The Journal of Headache and Pain.” …Sounds like a meeting at the oval office between the Sacklers, Trump and Kim Kardashian.

  2. today WHO in pre-scheduling representation has up to date information as to realities of cannabis and cbd’s in mediating even curing many, serious disorders and diseases, before making decisions which will, influence cannabis scheduling..

    americans for safe access [etc] have re-written old, misleading, wrong, inclumplete and absent information as to how,, cannabis cbds work..
    how and why, cannabis can mediate many, common disorders, from pain to diseases of aging, including epilepsy, cancer and other disorders now part of existing states medical cannabis qualifying disorders..

    this will influence how WHO recommends cannabis be scheduled.. this will remove one brick wall used by prohitionists to rationalise continuing to criminalise and schedule cannabis as if heroin or strychnine.. ie, WHO recommendations..

    ignorant fools stand poking fun and ridiculing ideas of therapeutic effects of cannabis..
    as if its some sort of weird religion or make-believe.. now it has been laid on WHO table..

    this will and cannot other than enfluence all rational resolutions and suchlike presented for re or de-scheduling cannabis from schedule 1..

    even delta 9-THC must be reconsidered in light of todays understandigs as to specific therapeutic benefits [anorexia etc]..

    now the many,, cbd’s and thc variants together with terpenes and many other cannabis constituents, must be considered [by WHO etc]
    ie, not just some isolated molecules created by and for pharmaceutical medicines..
    [the idea is like taking only one or a few people from a stadium of football fans then saying; ‘go on, make some noise!’..

    or taking one or two footballers from a team and expecting them to perform as if a full team..

    anyway folks, this will be a game changer…
    for the many countries making representations
    including usa and individual states..

    1. Carl,
      I read the language written by the WHO’s response to finally researching marijuana, which stemmed from an administrative petition to the FDA to examine mj’s scheduling.
      It is certainly a milestone when the WHO finally examines whole plant marijuana and declares “mj has never caused an overdose.”
      But keep into context they also said “marijuana consumption could lead to poor choices” calling it a “gateway” to “increased STD’s.”
      In other words, don’t hold your breath for international treaties to get rewritten overnight.

      For the record, some of the best life-saving decisions I ever made were when I was high on marijuana. I consistently drank less at parties throughout my twenties. That alone got me home alive and kept me alert enough to go home with the right woman instead of getting stuck at the party with your garden variety STD. Alcohol causes poor life decisions. Marijuana mitigates this problem.

      In short, it’s going to take the subtle diplomacy of a polite and respectful nation to nonviolently disobey the UN drug conventions. As you may have guessed, “polite” and respectful” aren’t exactly our strong points in the US under the current administration. No, we will require Canada to lead the way for us now, followed by Colombia, Mexico, the Caribbean and even South Africa is getting there faster at the federal level. That’s because the most powerful international cartel we are fighting is in our Congress, our White House, in our DOJ and creeping into our federal and FISA courts. And the only way to stop it is vote against the Republican coup in November.


  4. Just a reminder that Cannabis was also used commonly in the 1800s and later to overcome alcoholism. How joyous to discard ingestion of laboratory chemicals or fermented substances which are universally known as harmful to human health and well being.

  5. I suffer from chronic pain, yet I’m unable to procure cannibis oil. Oh, the governor has signed the bill, but the House hasn’t approved it. So until they do, I’ll have to contact using opiats and sufferings the side effects c’mon Georgia, get with it!

    1. You’re not going to be able to get the oil till the end of 2019. At least that’s when they’re expecting it to be accessible in VA by then. The only other way is to print a certificate on line, take it to your doc get it filled out and then find someone that sells the oil. Never ever use it in public. And keep your certificate with your oil.

  6. I wonder if cannabis oil is the solution. Foods can cause inflammation and pain. Removing offending lectins, and adding necessary magnesium from green leafy vegetables and nuts, may be the answer.

  7. I am wondering if insurance companies are coming on board with these options to help patients. I would hope they would consider this since there isn’t an addiction to worry about. Has there been any news of that?

  8. It has been a year since I saw my pain intheass doctor, who dropped me for a false/positive drug screen-(thc). one year later, and I do not miss taking a dozen pills a day, 8 just to get out of bed. I toke down daily andn am getting by without methadone morphine vicodins etc. screw bigpharma.

  9. I have been told one neurologist that I should not use marijuana since having a stroke in October. He said I could try a little of the oil with CBD in it. Do you have any medical staff or readers that would know about this question?

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