TUESDAY, March 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Medical marijuana might be a viable different to opioid painkillers for individuals 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 major 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 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 now 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 might do very properly.”
Between February 2018 and July 2019, docs licensed the sufferers to buy medical marijuana within the state of Pennsylvania. The sufferers have 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 referred to as morphine milligram equivalents (MME):
- Common every 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 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 does not seem to hold the identical danger of addiction as opioid painkillers, Ilyas added.
“One of many greatest central issues with opioids is each habit and the necessity for greater 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 recent 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’d like extra information and we’d like extra research. We’d like extra info,” Fischer continued. “Nonetheless, these two research are a really, excellent begin.”
Extra analysis is required, partially, to persuade insurance coverage corporations to cowl the price of medical pot as they do prescription opioids, the consultants stated.
“One of many greatest obstacles to utilization is price,” Ilyas defined. “It is fairly costly, and there isn’t any insurance coverage protection for it right now, even with non-public carriers.”
Ilyas stated his future analysis will concentrate on 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 offered outcomes from the 2 research on the annual assembly of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, happening this week in Chicago. Info offered at conferences must 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 shows, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, annual assembly, Chicago