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Study: Daily Cannabis Use For Chronic Pain Is Safe, Effective

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 21, 2015

    Chronic pain patients who use herbal cannabis daily for one-year report reduced discomfort and increased quality of life compared to controls, and do not experience an increased risk of serious side effects, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pain.

    Researchers at McGill University in Montreal assessed the long-term health of 216 medicinal cannabis users with chronic non-cancer pain who consumed a daily standardized dose (12.5 percent THC) of herbal cannabis compared to 215 controls (chronic pain suffers who did not use cannabis). Subjects in study were approved by Health Canada to legally use medicinal cannabis and consumed, on average, 2.5 grams of herb per day, typically via inhalation or vaporization.

    Investigators reported that daily cannabis consumers possessed no greater risk than non-users to experience “serious adverse events.” Specifically, researchers identified no significant adverse changes in consumers’ cognitive skills, pulmonary function, or blood work following one-year of daily cannabis consumption. Medical cannabis consumers did report elevated risk of experiencing “non-serious adverse events” (e.g., cough, dizziness, paranoia) compared to controls; however, authors classified these to be “mild to moderate.”

    Pain patients who used cannabis reported a reduced sense of pain compared to controls, as well as reduced anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

    “Quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile,” authors concluded.

    The study is one of the first to ever assess the long-term safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis. A prior health review of patients receiving medical cannabis monthly from the US federal government as part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program similarly reported that cannabis possesses therapeutic efficacy and an acceptable side-effect profile.

    Full text of the study, “Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study,” appears online here.

    25 responses to “Study: Daily Cannabis Use For Chronic Pain Is Safe, Effective”

    1. Trav says:

      Good morning from here in Belgium. I use it. It has changed my life. Chronic pain, depression, huge emotional benefits. After being a cranky bitch for years because of chronic pain I am now me again. Being a title buzzed doesn’t hinder me in any way, and contrary to the myth of the slacker stoner, I get a lot more done and have more energy. I too have been given opiates and narcotics in the past. Jesus they used to have me on Tylenol at the highest “safe” dose. Tylenol can kill you if you overdose, they tried to tell me that at this “safe” dose I wouldn’t get any liver damage, ha, as if this dose won’t effect my health in the long run. And this is Tylenol, an over the counter med which HAS been used to successfully commit suicide.

      So awesome, but here I’m basically preaching to the choir. We need to get this message to the crazed anti-marijuana folks. How do we do that when so many of them refuse to even read the science behind it.

    2. Yvetta Barbee says:

      I now use it I cook in honey a table spoon honey in tea. My quality of life had inproved. My pain the feeling I can’t describe and also my voice. The spasms in my the larynx are so much better. My Dr even says I’m getting around better. I also smoke it my bowels and I can burp. I feel some hope.

    3. There are several causes for chronic pain including wrong uses of cannabis.. but research says this can heal chronic pain problems, because of its therapeutic properties which depends on conditions of uses its combine therapy is safe and positive.

    4. Bruce P says:

      Been smoking for 30 years. Started as recreational I’ll admit, but now with degenerative Disc disease in my lower back and neck and migraines, I’ve started to use it more fore pain relief and to help sleep than for recreation. Unfortunately, my source is still a back alley transaction where the quality is at best questionable, sometimes good, other times not so good.
      With medical grade cannibus the quality is regulated and controlled.
      The other problem I’ve had is to convince my Dr.s that this is even a viable treatment. His response when I brought it up during a visit was, if your opiat med isn’t working well enough, let’s increase the dosage. While this dose help to better manage the pain, I do have to admit, the fact that I no longer have any desire to eat and when I do it can take weeks for my system to move things through, as the new TV commercial shows for another drug for opiate induced constipation. I suffer with side effects of the pain patch I wear. His answer is add more prescription drugs. He still thinks what I’ll get is ditch weed, with no control on quality or % active THC or depending on the strain of Cannibus, “active” or “effective” part of the plant. Hopefully with a print out of this abstract and some other research I’ve done, I may be able to change his thinking.
      I have an appointment later today, so I’ll add a comment if I was successful or not at changing his mind.

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