A study called, "The Effectiveness of Self-Directed Medical Cannabis Treatment for Pain," published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found cannabis buds or flowers are reported by users to be an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain. The results were gleaned from the data of an app called the Releaf App, an incentive-free program that has been in use since 2016.
Releaf App allows cannabis users to track how the many available cannabis-based products affect their pain in real-time. According to Science Daily, the average user experienced a three-point drop in pain on a 0-10 point scale right after cannabis consumption.
Chronic pain burdens many adults (more than 20 percent in the U.S.) and places a major financial strain on the country. Given the ongoing opioid epidemic, use of cannabis is viewed by some medical professionals as a welcome alternative.
"Cannabis offers the average patient an effective alternative to using opioids for general use in the treatment of pain with very minimal negative side effects for most people,” Jacob Miguel Vigil, one of the lead investigators of the study, said. The authors do note that addiction is possible along with short-term cognitive and behavioral impairments, and that cannabis comes in many forms and is not equally effective for everyone.
"Perhaps the most surprising result is just how widespread relief was with symptom relief reported in about 95 percent of cannabis administration sessions and across a wide variety of different types of pain," lead author of the study, Xiaoxue Li, said.
The authors also report that CBD showed little association with short-term pain relief. They point out that the Releaf App can be very helpful to scientists at this time when cannabis is still scheduled as a Schedule I substance, which makes it harder to research. Co-author Sarah Stith said rescheduling cannabis “just from Schedule I to Schedule II,” could improve the ability to conduct research “and only would require that the DEA recognizes that accepted medical uses for cannabis exist, as clearly evidenced by our results and the flourishing medical cannabis programs in the majority of U.S. states.”
Article source: Science Daily