Case Report: Chronic Pain Patient Weaned Off Opioids Following Cannabis Therapy

Philadelphia, PA: A patient with a multi-year history of chronic pain and opioid use was weaned off prescription opiates following the use of medical cannabis, according to a case study published in the journal Medical Case Reports.

A clinician with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania reported that a 43-year-old female patient with head trauma found relief from the inhalation of medical cannabis.

He reported that the patient’s pain scores decreased from 8 out of 10 on the visual analog scale to 2 out of 10 following cannabis initiation. During this time, the patient also was able to “completely wean off her opioid narcotics and reported no side effects.” The patient was confirmed by a drug test to still be opioid-free after six-months. The patient had previously been prescribed opioids for pain relief for a period of several years.

The author concluded: “Our patient was successfully weaned off her opioid medications with the help of medical cannabis and pain remained well controlled. More studies need to be done on using medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids.”

The findings of the case report are consistent with those of numerous other studies reporting that the initiation of medical cannabis therapy influences patients’ opioid consumption patterns.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis as an alternative for opioids for chronic pain: A case report,” appears in Medical Case Reports. Additional information on the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available in the NORML fact-sheet.