Many sufferers prescribed opioids for their persistent ache wound up taking fewer painkillers — or stopping them altogether — after docs licensed them for medical hashish, stated lead researcher Dr. Asif Ilyas, an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia.
“We found broadly a significant reduction in opioid use when they started using medical cannabis,” Ilyas stated. “We saw a decrease in approximately 40% of opioid use after starting medical cannabis, with 37% to 38% of patients completely discontinuing opioid use altogether.”
If validated, these outcomes point out that medical marijuana might be a possible technique of combating America’s opioid epidemic, which has been pushed partially by prescription painkillers, stated Dr. Stuart Fischer, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Medication in Summit, N.J.
“We have a huge number of people who are on opioids who are being treated for chronic back pain,” stated Fischer, who wasn’t a part of the research. “If we could move that population to something that’s safer but just as effective, we would do very well.”
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.
Medical doctors 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 every day opioid prescriptions for arthritis sufferers declined through the research interval, falling from 18.2 to 9.8 MME.
- Back ache sufferers additionally expertise a discount of their common every 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 dependancy as opioid painkillers, Ilyas added.
“One of the biggest central problems with opioids is both addiction and the need for higher dosages to achieve the same results,” Ilyas stated. “Based on our current understanding of medical cannabis, you do not need increasing doses to achieve the same results and we’re not yet seeing any addictive qualities to it.”
These outcomes present recent proof for the potential to deal with ache with medical pot, Fischer stated.
“Obviously these studies are early. Medical marijuana has not been in public use for all that long, so we need more data and we need more studies. We need more information,” Fischer continued. “Nonetheless, these two studies are a very, very good start.”
Extra analysis is required, partially, to persuade insurance coverage corporations to cowl the price of medical pot as they do prescription opioids, the specialists stated.
“One of the biggest barriers to usage is cost,” Ilyas defined. “It’s quite expensive, and there’s no insurance coverage for it at this time, even with private carriers.”
Ilyas stated his future analysis will give attention to how advantages differ, relying on the kind of medical hashish product, and totally different supply strategies.
“We want to emphasize this looks very promising, but we’re very early in our understanding of this. More investigation is needed,” 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.
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 Medication, Summit, N.J.; March 22-26, 2022 displays, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, annual assembly, Chicago