Haifa, Israel: The prolonged use of inhaled cannabis is associated with reductions in the use of analgesic medications and improvements in the quality of life of chronic pain patients, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.
A team of Israeli investigators assessed the use of herbal cannabis in a cohort of patients with chronic non-cancer pain over a period of six months. Most of the study’s participants suffered from either neuropathy or musculoskeletal pain conditions.
Subjects’ use of prescription analgesics fell by nearly half during the study period – a finding that is consistent with prior studies. Subjects who consumed flowers high in THC content reported the most significant decrease in their use of prescription pain medicines. Most participants acknowledged marked improvements in their overall quality of life, despite also reporting that their overall level of pain intensity remained stable throughout the trial. The most commonly reported side-effects were fatigue and dry mouth.
Authors concluded: “Analgesic medication consumption rates decreased from 46 to 28 percent and good Quality of Life (QoL) rates increased from 49 to 62 percent. … These results may shed light on the long-term beneficial effects of MC [medical cannabis] on CNCP [chronic non-cancer pain].”
Full text of the study, “Prolonged medical cannabis treatment is associated with quality of life improvement and reductions of analgesic medication consumption in chronic pain patients,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Additional information the relationship between cannabis and prescription pain relievers is available from the NORML fact sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”