A review of published literature has found that chronic pain patients who use cannabis in addition to pharmaceutical medications showed a reduction in their use of opioids and required fewer visits to the emergency room. The study, “Medical cannabis for the reduction of opioid dosage in the treatment of non-cancer chronic pain: A systematic review,” was published last week in the journal Systematic Reviews.
To conduct the meta-analysis, researchers associated with the Mel and Enid Zuckerman School of Public Health at the University of Arizona searched online databases to identify original research conducted to study the effects of medical cannabis use as an adjunct therapy for patients using opioids to treat non-cancer chronic pain. A total of 2,440 unique studies were screened by the authors, who chose the full text of nine studies that qualified for inclusion in the review. The nine selected studies involved 7,222 participants with chronic pain not related to cancer, many of whom were able to reduce or eliminate their use of opioids with medical cannabis.
The investigators documented “a much higher reduction in opioid dosage, reduced emergency room visits, and hospital admissions for chronic non-cancer pain by MC [medical cannabis] users, compared to people with no additional use of MC. There was 64 to 75 percent reduction in opioid dosage for MC users and complete stoppage of opioid use for chronic non-cancer pain by 32 to 59