Medical Cannabis Associated With Reduced Opioid Intake in Pain Patients

ROSWELL, NM — The use of medical cannabis for a period of one-month or more is associated with reduced opioid intake in patients with cancer and/or rheumatic pain conditions, according to clinical data published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

A team of investigators from the Kymera Independent Physicians medical group in New Mexico assessed the relationship between the use of medical cannabis and opioids in a cohort of 133 patients.

The addition of medical cannabis was associated with pain score improvements in 80 percent of patients with cancer and in 75 percent of non-cancer patients.

Cannabis therapy was associated with opioid dosing reductions in 41 percent of the cohort.

The study’s conclusions are consistent with those of several prior papers reporting that patients enrolled in medical marijuana access programs typically reduce their use of opiate pain medicines.

Full text of the study, “Opioid dose reduction and pain control with medical cannabis,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids,” is online.

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