Medical cannabis shows promise for curbing opioid use in patients with chronic back pain and osteoarthritis

The studies found there was a significant decrease in morphine milligram equivalents following patients receiving medical cannabis prescriptions.

Maria Loreto, The Fresh Toast 2 minute read March 28, 2022

One of medical cannabis’ most common uses is the treatment of chronic conditions, one or more of which affect approximately 40 per cent of Americans annually.

A new set of studies indicates medical cannabis may also be able to help curb the use of opioids.

Presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons (AAOS), the studies suggest medical cannabis could be an alternative to opioids and the many issues their misuse brings, particularly with respect to chronic conditions.

The study had access to the records of patients with chronic back pain who were certified for medical cannabis. Their morphine milligram equivalents (MME) were measured twice: before patients had access to medical cannabis and six months after they had gained access.

The studies found that there was a significant decrease in patients’ MME following their cannabis prescriptions, with 38 per cent of participants quitting opioids entirely. Following their medical cannabis approval, patients reported feeling better and having better functioning.

“Our studies show that medical cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic back pain and osteoarthritis, potentially helping reduce the reliance on opioids,” explained lead author Dr. Asif Ilyas.

Still, Dr. Ilyas emphasized that more data is necessary to better understand cannabis and its effect on these conditions and whether there could be any possible side effects that aren’t apparent in the study.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

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