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Nearly 3 in 10 people with chronic pain use cannabis, study finds

Nearly 3 in 10 people with chronic pain use cannabis, study finds


Cannabis has become widely used to treat chronic pain as more states begin to legalize or ease restrictions on cannabis. I have tried to determine if it helps as

“The evidence is mixed about whether medical cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids and other pain treatments,” the study authors wrote. “To the best of our knowledge, no precise estimates of cannabis use or use as an alternative to pain treatment in adults with chronic non-cancer pain are available.

In this section study issued by JAMA network openThe authors recruited individuals 18 years of age and older with chronic pain who resided in 36 states and had a medical cannabis program in place between March and April 2022 on the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) AmeriSpeak panel. identified and investigated through We identified people who had unrelated cancer pain most days or every day for the past 6 months.

Cannabis use was self-reported (to date, past 12 months, past 30 days), pharmacologic (prescription opioids, prescription non-opioid analgesics, and over-the-counter analgesics), common non-pharmacological ( physical therapy, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy), and cannabis alternatives for these treatments.

Of the 1724 individuals identified as having chronic pain, 1661 (96.3%) completed the full survey (948 [57.1%] female; average [SD] age, 52.3 [16.9] years); 31.0% (95% CI, 28.2%–34.1%). Among adults with chronic pain who reported ever using cannabis to manage pain, 25.9% (95% CI, 23.2%–28.8%) had used cannabis to manage chronic pain in the past 12 months. and 23.2% (95% CI , 20.6%-26.0%) reported using cannabis in the past 30 days.

Most people who reported using cannabis to manage chronic pain used at least one other pharmacological (94.7%; 95% CI, 91.3%-96.8%) or non-pharmacological pain treatment (70.6%; 95% CI, 91.3%-96.8%). %; 95% CI, 64.8%-75.7). %).

More than 50% of participants who used cannabis to manage chronic pain reported that cannabis use reduced their use of prescription opioids, non-opioids, and over-the-counter analgesics. Fewer than 1% of them reported that cannabis use increased their use of these drugs.

Additionally, 38.7% said cannabis use led to a decrease in physical therapy use (5.9% reported an increase in use), and 19.1% said it led to a decrease in meditation use (23.7% reported an increase in use). reported), 26.0% said it was due to decreased use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (17.1% reported increased use).

Across 36 states with medical cannabis programs, the study found that nearly 3 in 10 people use cannabis to manage their pain. Most people who have used cannabis to manage chronic pain report using cannabis in place of other pain relievers, including opioids.

“The high degree of substitution of cannabis for both opioid and non-opioid therapy underscores the importance of research to clarify the efficacy and potential adverse effects of cannabis on chronic pain.” The authors of the study write. “Our results suggest that state cannabis laws have enabled access to cannabis as a pain-relieving treatment despite knowledge gaps in its use as a pain treatment.”


Bicket M, Stone E, McGinty E. Use of cannabis and other pain treatments among adults with chronic pain in US states with medical cannabis programs. JAMA net opened. 2023;6(1):e2249797.doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.49797




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