Study: Medical Cannabis Use Associated with Long-Term Pain Mitigation

Haifa, Israel: Israeli patients authorized to use cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain report long-term overall improvements in their condition, according to observational data published in The European Journal of Pain.

Investigators affiliated with the University of Haifa repeatedly surveyed federally licensed medical cannabis patients over a one-year period regarding their use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

They reported: “At one-year, average pain intensity declined from baseline by 20 percent. All other parameters improved by 10 to 30 percent. A significant decrease of 42 percent from baseline in morphine equivalent daily dosage of opioids was also observed. Reported adverse effects were common but mostly non-serious.” Reports of adverse effects declined over the course of the study period.

The findings are consistent with those of numerous other studies reporting that the use of cannabis is associated with pain relief and a reduction in the use of opioids by chronic pain patients.

Authors of the study concluded: “This prospective, comprehensive and large-scale cohort demonstrated an overall mild to modest long-term improvement of all investigated measures, including pain, associated symptoms and importantly, reduction in opioid (and other analgesics) use. It seems likely that MC [medical cannabis] treatment can be safe for most patients.”

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain: Outcomes and prediction of response,” appears in The European Journal of Pain. Additional information on cannabinoids and pain relief is available from NORML. Additional information on cannabis as a potential substitute for opioids in patients with chronic pain is available in the NORML fact sheet.