Survey: More Than One-Third of Chronic Pain Patients Report Current Use of Medical Cannabis

Oakland, CA: Over a third of Californians suffering from chronic pain acknowledge having consumed cannabis for therapeutic purposes within the past year, according to survey data published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Researchers affiliated with Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco surveyed a random sampling of pain patients enrolled with one of the state’s largest health care providers.

Thirty-five percent of the patients surveyed said that they had consumed medical cannabis. Nearly ninety percent of them said that they used cannabis primarily to treat pain-related symptoms. 

Numerous placebo-controlled trials document the ability of either inhaled or vaporized herbal cannabis to significantly mitigate pain in various patient populations, including those suffering from HIVdiabetesspinal cord injury, or severe treatment-resistant neuropathy (nerve pain). A 2017 review by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, stating, “Patients who [are] treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use for medical reasons among patients in a large California health care system after legalization of non-medical use,” appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Additional information on cannabis and chronic pain is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids.