Study from Minnesota Adds to Growing Evidence that Cannabis Reduces Opioid Use

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A study from Minnesota adds to the ever-expanding number of research that proves cannabis helps people with chronic pain conditions to decrease their opioid use.

This study was backed by a research conducted in Israel that states that the substance also helps individuals suffering from cancer.

The paper recommends cannabis as a temporary solution to the ongoing problem of the opioid crisis. Most of those who participated in the Minnesota study found out that cannabis has elements that offer a positive level of contribution in the treatment of chronic diseases especially when patients experience pain.

Minnesota Marijuana Study - cannabis reduces opioid use

This study of medical cannabis led the experts to the hypothesis that it could either reduce or even abolish the use of prescription pills that were offered as pain medication.

To add to this, the paper also suggested that while using medical marijuana, the participants’ pain was alleviated, their anxiety was less likely to occur, and there was an improvement in their sleeping pattern.

It was in 2014 when the citizens of Minnesota approved the legalization of medical marijuana. A year after that, at around July 2015, patients have started to get enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program.

The state provided a specific list of illnesses and qualified patients in order to regulate the use of it.

Two years after it had been approved to be legal, the state included “intractable pain” under the list of possible conditions that could be treated with medical cannabis.

Based on the state’s definition, intractable pain is the kind of aching feeling which can’t be readily and easily removed.

It is when the full spectrum of pain management methods appropriate for the person being treated has been done but adequate results are not observed and intolerable side effects occur, according to the generally accepted practice in the field of medicine.

In practice, opioid has been used to treat intractable pain.

Cannabis for Pain Treatment and Management

According to reports, the study in Minnesota focused on 2,245 patients that were able to enroll in the medical marijuana program under the category of intractable pain between the months of August and December 2016.

Majority of the participants lived in Minneapolis – St Paul area. 64 percent of them were between the ages of 36 and 64, while 52 percent of the patients were female.

Most of the participants in the study that enrolled in the state’s program are those who have been taking pills as pain medications.

The study showed that 62.6 percent of the patients were able to decrease or abolish the use of opioids after six months of being in the program.

In detail, the results of the study are as follows: according to 54 percent of the participants, medical marijuana provided them with a high level of benefit; 64 percent of them stated that through the use of medical marijuana, the severity of their pain has been reduced; 27 percent of them were able to have a development in their sleeping pattern.

Other positive effects of medical marijuana that was mentioned by the patients are the decrease in anxiety and their improvement in mobility and function.

The patients were quite vocal about this program. One patient said that the study has opened up the world for him he thought he had lost.

He said that he started on using medical cannabis just a few short months ago and he is now off his prescription pain medication.

He also reported fewer spasms and cramping throughout his body. The patient even had the opportunity to get on a motorcycle and go for a short ride with a friend, having thought that he could never do that again.

Cannabis use grows among seniors

Although these statements and feedback showed the benefits of medical marijuana, not all of the patients shared the same thoughts. Other participants reported that even when there was the reduction of pain, the effect did not last for a long time.

The study in Minnesota reflects the same findings as that of one study in Israel.

In the case of Israel, the study involved patients that were diagnosed with cancer. Its results show that in using medical marijuana, patients started to use less of the opioids they normally consume and it slowly led to the elimination of opioids in their system.

According to the Israeli study, cannabis is a “well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy-related symptoms.”

Have you ever used cannabis to manage your pain? Share your experience with us in the comments below. 

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