Chronic pain, however, is by and large the main reason people seek out medical grade marijuana in the first place.
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reports that patients suffering from chronic medical conditions used fewer opioids, antidepressants, sleep medications, alcohol, and other illicit substances after using medical cannabis to treat their symptoms.
“So what we found is that after starting medical marijuana that many of the patients that were previously using opioids reduced the use of those agents,” said Brian J. Piper, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and lead researcher for the study.
“So over three-quarters of the medical marijuana patients who were using opioids decreased the use of those agents.”
The numbers make a pretty strong case in favor of medical cannabis. The final results from the study show a 76.7% drop in regular opioid use, a 37.6% drop in antidepressant use, and a 42% drop in alcohol use. They also discovered that almost 72% of patients took fewer anti-anxiety medications, 67% of them used fewer migraine medications, and 65% of them used sleep aids less after beginning a medical marijuana treatment regimen. Chronic pain, however, is by and large the main reason people seek out medical grade marijuana in the first place.
“Over two-thirds (70.4%) of patients in Maine and Rhode Island listed intractable or chronic pain followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (25.5%), severe muscle spasms (12.2%), or nausea (10.6%) as their qualifying condition,” reads an excerpt from the study.
Additionally, subjects of the study reported that medical marijuana provided the most effective treatment for pain following incidents of trauma. On a scale from 0 to 100% (100 percent indicating “complete relief”), subjects were asked to rate the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating the conditions listed below and this is what they found:
77.9% relief in the treatment of pain following trauma
77.5% relief in the treatment of menstrual pain
73% relief in the treatment of neck and back pain
72.3% relief in the treatment of neuropathic pain
75.8% relief in the treatment of cancer pain
72% relief in the treatment of post-surgery pain
At the moment, only 10 states in the United States have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Thankfully, about 30 states across the country have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Yet, the substance is still classified by the government as a Schedule I drug, sitting next to heroin in its description of having no medical value.