Research: Chronic Pain Reduction and Medical Cannabis
Updated: Jul 29
Chronic pain is a common and often debilitating condition that can significantly impact quality of life. It is defined as pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks and can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, illness, and surgery.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) is a government agency that conducts research on a wide range of health topics, including chronic pain. In recent years, the NIH has been researching the potential of cannabis, including marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD), to treat chronic pain.
Use of Cannabis and Other Pain Treatments Among Adults With Chronic Pain in US States With Medical Cannabis Programs
A recent study Published January 6, 2023 reveals insights on the impact medical cannabis has on the treatment of chronic pain the and a decrease in the use of presciprtion opioids. 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.49797
Survey Pool: 1724 individuals with chronic pain
Completed Survey: 1661 (96.3%) completed the full survey
Reported Chronic Pain Treatment with Cannabis: 25.9% on average reported using cannabis to manage their chronic pain
Reported Cannabis Use in last 30 days: 23.2%
More than half of adults who used cannabis to manage their chronic pain reported that use of cannabis led them to decrease use of prescription opioid, prescription nonopioid, and over-the-counter pain medications, and less than 1% reported that use of cannabis increased their use of these medications (figure 1 below).
Fewer than half of respondents reported that cannabis use changed their use of nonpharmacologic pain treatments. Among adults with chronic pain in this study, 38.7% reported that their used of cannabis led to decreased use of physical therapy (5.9% reported it led to increased use), 19.1% reported it led to decreased use of meditation (23.7% reported it led to increased use), and 26.0% reported it led to decreased used of cognitive behavioral therapy (17.1% reported it led to increased use) (figure 2 below).
CBD: Effectiveness in Reducing Chronic Pain
One study funded by the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is examining the effectiveness of CBD in reducing chronic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. Another study, funded by the NIH's National Cancer Institute (NCI), is looking at the potential of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to reduce pain and improve sleep in cancer patients.
Medical Cannabis: Treating Chronic Pain Associated with Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy
Other studies funded by the NIH have examined the potential of marijuana to treat chronic pain in patients with conditions such as fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. These studies have generally found that marijuana can be effective in reducing chronic pain and improving quality of life for some patients.
NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
In addition to studying the potential of cannabis to treat chronic pain, the NIH is also researching other potential treatments for this condition. For example, the NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is funding research on non-opioid pain medications and non-pharmacological treatments, such as acupuncture and physical therapy.
Overall, the research on the use of cannabis for chronic pain is ongoing and the results are mixed. While some studies have shown promising results, more research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of using cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain.
Want to Join in Cannabis Research?
OMNI Medical Service is a non-profit physician-owned 501c currently accepting participants for potential participation in upcoming medical cannabis research.