Small Harvard Study Shows Medical Cannabis Treatment Can Help With Chronic Pain In The Real World

By Nina Zdinjak

Cannabis treatment can help significantly with chronic pain, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Boston.

37 patients enrolled in the study with a variety of chronic pain conditions including neuropathy, joint pain, and arthritis, reports the Pain News Network. The group was observed while taking cannabis products for six months. The patients had either never used cannabis or had not used it for at least a year prior to the study.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

The study found that those who used medicinal cannabis daily for six months saw remarkable improvements in their overall health: less pain and anxiety, better sleep, and better mood.

In addition, after three and six months of medical cannabis treatment, patients’ opioid use decreased by an average of 13% and 23%, respectively.

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The decline in opioid use was insufficient to be classified as fundamental, the report said.

“This naturalistic study of medical cannabis (MC) patients with chronic pain provides preliminary evidence that MC treatment in the real world may be a viable alternative or add-on treatment for at least some people with chronic pain,” wrote lead author Staci Gruber , Ph. D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“Because the results also showed that individual cannabinoids have unique effects on pain and comorbid symptoms, further research is needed to optimize potentially cannabinoid-based pain treatments.”

Medical marijuana is too potent for pain relief, researchers sayPhoto of Roungroat via Rawpixel

TCH for pain relief, CBD for mood improvement

The study found that higher THC consumption was linked to pain relief, while CBD intake was linked to mood improvement.

“Interestingly, we found that many patients seek symptom relief without experiencing the intoxicating effects of THC. Therefore, it is likely that patients will be able to achieve adequate pain relief over time with lower doses of THC than originally used, ”said Gruber, director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital.

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The study conducted a control group of nine patients who also had chronic pain and did not use medical cannabis, and the group showed no similar improvement, according to the Pain News Network.

The researchers said more research and larger studies are needed to confirm the results and further investigate the effects of THC and CBD on pain and mood.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and was republished with permission.

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