Study: Cannabis Use Associated with Self-Reported Reductions in Pain

Albuquerque, NM: Patients self-report significant reductions in pain following cannabis consumption, according to data published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico assessed real-time responses from nearly 3,000 subjects concerning cannabis’ impact on momentary pain intensity. They reported that subjects, on average, reported "a three-point drop in pain suffering on a zero-to-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption."

Authors reported that the use of herbal cannabis "was associated with greater pain relief than were other types of products, and higher tetrahydrocannabinol levels were the strongest predictors of analgesia and side effects prevalence across the five pain categories. In contrast, cannabidiol levels generally were not associated with pain relief except for a negative association between CBD and relief from gastrointestinal and non-specified pain."

Commenting on the findings, one of the study’s lead investigators said, "Cannabis offers the average patient an effective alternative to using opioids for general use in the treatment of pain with very minimal negative side effects for most people."

Several placebo-controlled trials validate the pain-relieving properties of cannabis, particularly to mitigate neuropathy. A 2017 literature review by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined, "There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis [is] effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults."

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "The effectiveness of self-directed medical cannabis treatment for pain," appears in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.