Survey: One in Five Patients Report Using Cannabis Products for Musculoskeletal Pain

Toronto, Canada: One in five Canadian patients battling musculoskeletal disorders are using cannabis to ease their pain, according to survey data compiled by researchers at the University of Toronto and presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Researchers surveyed 600 patients visiting a Toronto orthopedic clinic. Twenty percent of respondents reported either past or current use of cannabis products to assist in managing their pain conditions.

Cannabis is legal for both patients and adults in Canada.

Ninety percent of those currently using cannabis for pain management said that it provided either moderate or significant relief and 40 percent of subjects reported having decreased their consumption of other analgesic medications following their initiation of cannabis therapy. Pain patients most frequently reported consuming products high in CBD rather than THC.

A 2019 study assessing patients’ motives for using medical cannabis determined that over six in ten users do so to treat symptoms of pain. Clinical trial data indicates that cannabinoids possess synergistic activity with opioids, which “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” Among pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs in the United States, most subjects report eventually decreasing or even eliminating their use of opiates.

Additional information on cannabis and chronic pain is available online.