DEC 07, 2017 2:45 PM PST

Medical Cannabis and Chronic Pain: Part II

WRITTEN BY: Loren DeVito

As we explained in the first part of this article, medical cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pain. And it may actually help people who are currently addicted to opioid painkillers. Let’s take a look at the evidence to date.

Evidence for Medical Cannabis in Treating Pain

Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years across different cultures. However, studies on the therapeutic benefit of cannabis for pain had not been conducted until a bit more recently. Research conducted in the 1970s provided inconsistent results; however, in the early 2000s, studies were published on small groups of individuals treating their pain with cannabis-based medicinal extracts. One such study in the UK found that cannabis extracts high in THC were effective in addressing chronic pain in a group of 34 patients.

More recent studies have also reported similar findings. A study published in 2010 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal evaluated a group of 21 patients with chronic nerve pain. Patients in the study took 3 doses of cannabis daily across 5 days. This treatment regimen reduced pain intensity and significantly improved sleep quality. A follow-up study from this group reported that these effects were consistent across a year of treatment with a reasonable safety profile.