Medical Cannabis Associated With Reduced Opioid Use Among Patients With Lower Back Pain

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — Fibromyalgia (FM) patients suffering from lower back pain respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment, according to clinical data published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.

Israeli researchers assessed the analgesic efficacy of both opioids and medical cannabis in 31 FM patients with lower back pain.

Participants were treated with inhaled cannabis of relatively low THC potency (less than five percent) for a minimum of six months.

Patients reported greater pain improvement with medical cannabis as opposed to the use of opioids alone.

Patients demonstrated increased range of motion following cannabis treatment, but did not show any similar improvement with opioids.

While undergoing cannabis treatment, the majority of patients elected to “decrease or discontinue pharmaceutical analgesic consumption” – a finding that is consistent with those of several other studies.

Authors concluded: “This observational cross-over study demonstrates an advantage of MCT (medical cannabis treatment) in FM patients with LBP (lower back pain) as compared with SAT (standard analgesic therapy). Further studies randomized clinical trials should assess whether these results can be generalized to the FM population at large.”

Full text of the study, “Effect of adding medical cannabis treatment to analgesic treatment in patients with low back pain related to fibromyalgia: An observational cross-over single center study,” appears in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.

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