Medical Pot May Help You Avoid Opioids for Back Pain, Arthritis


TUESDAY, March 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Medical marijuana could possibly be a viable various to opioid painkillers for folks coping with arthritis or power back pain, two new research present.

Many sufferers prescribed opioids for his or her chronic pain wound up taking fewer painkillers — or stopping them altogether — after docs licensed them for medical cannabis, stated lead researcher Dr. Asif Ilyas, an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia.

“We discovered broadly a big discount in opioid use once they began utilizing medical hashish,” Ilyas stated. “We noticed a lower in roughly 40% of opioid use after beginning medical hashish, with 37% to 38% of sufferers fully discontinuing opioid use altogether.”

If validated, these outcomes point out that medical marijuana could possibly be a possible technique of combating America’s opioid epidemic, which has been pushed partly by prescription painkillers, stated Dr. Stuart Fischer, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Drugs in Summit, N.J.

“Now we have an enormous variety of people who find themselves on opioids who’re being handled for power again ache,” stated Fischer, who wasn’t a part of the research. “If we may transfer that inhabitants to one thing that is safer however simply as efficient, we’d do very nicely.”

For the research, Ilyas and his colleagues recruited 186 sufferers with power back pain and 40 sufferers with power arthritis pain.

Between February 2018 and July 2019, docs licensed the sufferers to buy medical marijuana within the state of Pennsylvania. The sufferers had been allowed to make use of pot as they selected — some vaped or smoked, whereas others used edibles.

Docs then tracked the sufferers’ opioid painkiller use for six months utilizing a state-run prescription drug monitoring database, and utilizing an opioid measurement known as morphine milligram equivalents (MME):

  • Common each day opioid prescriptions for arthritis sufferers declined throughout the examine interval, falling from 18.2 to 9.8 MME.
  • Again ache sufferers additionally expertise a discount of their common each day opioid prescriptions, from 15.1 to 11 MME.
  • About 37% of arthritis sufferers and 38% of again ache sufferers stop opioid painkillers altogether.

Sufferers in each teams skilled a discount of their ache signs and an enchancment of their bodily well being.

Medical hashish additionally would not seem to hold the identical threat of addiction as opioid painkillers, Ilyas added.

“One of many greatest central issues with opioids is each dependancy and the necessity for increased dosages to realize the identical outcomes,” Ilyas stated. “Primarily based on our present understanding of medical hashish, you do not want rising doses to realize the identical outcomes and we’re not but seeing any addictive qualities to it.”

These outcomes present contemporary proof for the potential to deal with ache with medical pot, Fischer stated.

“Clearly these research are early. Medical marijuana has not been in public use for all that lengthy, so we want extra information and we want extra research. We’d like extra info,” Fischer continued. “Nonetheless, these two research are a really, excellent begin.”

Extra analysis is required, partly, to persuade insurance coverage corporations to cowl the price of medical pot as they do prescription opioids, the specialists stated.

“One of many greatest boundaries to utilization is price,” Ilyas defined. “It is fairly costly, and there isn’t any insurance coverage protection for it at the moment, even with personal carriers.”

Ilyas stated his future analysis will deal with how advantages differ, relying on the kind of medical hashish product, and completely different supply strategies.

“We need to emphasize this seems to be very promising, however we’re very early in our understanding of this. Extra investigation is required,” Ilyas stated.

Ilyas introduced outcomes from the 2 research on the annual assembly of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, going down this week in Chicago. Info introduced at conferences needs to be thought-about preliminary till revealed in a peer-reviewed journal.

Extra info

The Mayo Clinic has extra about medical hashish.

SOURCES: Asif Ilyas, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, Philadelphia; Stuart Fischer, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Drugs, Summit, N.J.; March 22-26, 2022 displays, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, annual assembly, Chicago

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