A significant number of individuals experience chronic pain each year, leading many to seek medical marijuana as a potential treatment option. However, the lack of clear guidelines regarding the use of cannabis-based therapies for chronic pain relief has posed a challenge. Fortunately, Canadian researchers have recently released a comprehensive set of guidelines, offering valuable suggestions for patients.
To compile these guidelines, the researchers conducted an extensive review of scientific databases. They meticulously analyzed numerous articles published between 2001 and 2019, evaluating the quality of evidence presented. The guidelines encompass a wide range of chronic pain conditions and shed light on how cannabis and cannabis-based natural medicines can benefit patients.
Development of the Guidelines
The team of researchers focused on peer-reviewed English articles and carefully examined data from 70 studies, comprising both original studies and systematic reviews. Based on evidence of moderate quality, they determined that medical marijuana and cannabis-based natural medicines can serve as primary or supplementary treatments for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis-related pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and more. The guidelines also offer recommendations supported by lower-quality evidence, including the use of cannabis for fibromyalgia and arthritis pain.
Increasing Interest in Medical Cannabis
An escalating number of chronic pain patients are expressing interest in utilizing medical cannabis products. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 31% of individuals with chronic pain rely on medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. The decriminalization and legalization of cannabis in several states have further fueled the potential for federal cannabis legalization. However, it is crucial to emphasize that medical cannabis should not replace treatments prescribed by healthcare professionals, and patients must consult with their practitioners prior to usage.
Ensuring Quality and Safety
It is important to note that the quality and potency of medical cannabis products can vary significantly. Therefore, it is crucial for patients to apply for a medical marijuana card and seek guidance from reputable dispensaries. Additionally, cannabis may interact with certain medications, necessitating consultation with a healthcare practitioner.
Bethan Rose, a cannabis advocate, writer, and traveler without a fixed address, is currently based in Bali. Her endeavors primarily involve curating cannabis-related content while relaxing on her hammock.