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Healthcare Pros Starting to See Cannabis as Medicine, Study Shows

Anyone who suffers from chronic pain would quickly tell you what a terrible affliction it is.

For some chronic pain sufferers, the condition can be a nagging thing that they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, for other chronic pain sufferers, the pain can be debilitating and have a tremendously negative impact on a person’s life.

Various treatments exist to help chronic pain sufferers.

One of the most common is the use of opioid medications, which can often cause more harm than good.

Opioids are very addictive and can thrust a patient into a lifelong battle with addiction and oftentimes lead to the use of other harmful substances.

A growing body of evidence demonstrates that the cannabis plant can help with pain management, and given that cannabis is safer than opioids, that is a good thing.

Recent Study Finds That More Patients Are Turning To Cannabis

According to data published in the journal Advances in Therapy, more and more patients are using cannabis for pain management instead of opioids.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School examined data from 2011 to 2015 regarding cannabis-use trends among pain patients. 

Chronic pain is the number one condition that patients get approved for cannabis treatments around the globe. 

The average age for chronic pain patients that used cannabis to treat their condition was 45 years old, according to the study.

“Over the course of our study, … we identified a significant and progressive increase in the number of patients using cannabis. In patients with chronic pain, cannabis use more than doubled during this period,” the study’s authors noted.

The researchers concluded: “This overall increase is not surprising given that several studies have shown cannabis to be effective in mitigating inflammation and demonstrated benefit to chronic pain symptoms with the use of cannabis, including improved pain, functional outcomes, and quality of life in patients with chronic pain syndromes. With chronic pain projected to increase over the next two decades to a rate of one in three people from the current rate of one in five people, our findings foretell that cannabis use can be projected to increase even more rapidly.”

Most Healthcare Professionals Support Cannabis Therapies For Pain

The results of a separate study were also published recently, with the study looking at the opinions of healthcare professionals as they pertain to the use of cannabis therapies by chronic pain patients.

According to survey data recently published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, nearly three out of every four health care professionals support the use of medical cannabis instead of opioids.

Researchers found that 72% of survey participants agreed with the statement, “Medical marijuana should be used to reduce the use of opioids for non-cancer pain.”

That is significant because healthcare professionals are often those promoting the use of harmful opioids.

It wasn’t long ago that cannabis was not considered a medicine by most medical professionals. Thankfully, that perception appears to be changing.


  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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