One of the main reasons so many people advocate for marijuana is they claim it helps manage chronic pain.
This is why there is such a huge push for legalization at a national level. People fear the present opioid crisis is only going to get worse and they want an alternative treatment therapy that’ll help manage pain. For years, it’s been the claim that marijuana takes care of severe pain.
But now, there is evidence indicating that might not be the case exactly…
A 4-year study diving into the specifics of how marijuana helps manage pain (if it does at all) has yielded some surprising results.
Gabrielle Campbell, Ph.D. — from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and her team of researchers looked specifically at how marijuana might help to manage pain.
Studying 1,500 patients with chronic, non-cancer-related pain, Campbell and her researchers published how marijuana helped them deal with their pain in the journal Lancet Public Health.
And their findings are contrary to what so many people believe about marijuana.
As a baseline, the team decided to only study patients who had already been taking an opioid for their pain management. Some switched entirely from opioids and others continued using them during the study. Switching from the opioid to marijuana they assessed their pain levels and how they affected the subjects in their daily levels.
They analyzed how much marijuana the subjects were taking and made sure to track and see if the marijuana had any effect on the mental health of the subjects as well.
Lastly, they looked at the “potential opioid-sparing effects of cannabis”
Each participant was asked about how often they used marijuana, both on a monthly and yearly basis and they were further questioned on whether or not feelings of depression and anxiety developed during use.
The conclusions of this study?
Marijuana did nothing to help alleviate chronic pain.
In a write up on the study, author Ana Sandoiu said:
“Although cannabis use was common in the study sample, the researchers found “no evidence that cannabis use improved patient outcomes.”
Campbell and team found “no evidence of a temporal relationship between cannabis use and pain severity,” nor did they find any link with the extent to which pain interfered with the participants’ daily lives.
In fact, the opposite was revealed. “People who used cannabis had greater pain and lower self-efficacy in managing pain.” Despite this, says the study’s lead author, the patients reported “perceived benefits from cannabis use.”
Finally, no evidence was found “that cannabis use reduced prescribed opioid use or increased rates of opioid discontinuation.” The study authors conclude.