There have, in recent months, been studies and articles that have reported on the idea of cannabis replacing painkillers, specifically opioids. In fact, there have been reports suggesting a possible connection between the number of dispensaries and the number of opioid deaths in the same area as the dispensaries. To get more data on the connection between opioid and cannabis use, researchers performed a survey at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The researchers did this to see if those using cannabis for chronic non-cancer pain changed their consumption of painkillers.
The study focused on a cross-sectional questionnaire to be performed in one-month intervals. The researchers performed the study over the course of six months. Each participant had a license for medical cannabis treatment and reported a physician diagnosed them with chronic pain. The questionnaire involved self-reporting questions and included administration route, cultivator, cultivar name, and monthly dose. The researchers then examined the statistics among the collected data.
Upon examining the results, the researchers discovered the intensity of the pain did not change throughout the study. However, they also found that the number of patients taking painkillers decreased from 46 to 28 percent. Additionally, the quality of life rates also increased. The researchers found that these changes directly correlate with the increase in the consumption of cannabis and α-pinene, a type of terpene.
The results of this study show that, at least in regards to chronic pain, cannabis can replace painkiller medication. This might demonstrate that the studies focusing on pain caused by chronic conditions, like fibromyalgia, also hold water in regards to their results. Additionally, the quality of life improved, but there is little information on how this was the case. It is also unclear why the use of painkillers decreased when the subjects reported pain intensities staying the same. It could be that the cannabis products helped to numb the pain in a similar fashion to the painkillers. However, the study doesn’t clearly state it one way or the other.
While there seem to be some flaws in regards to this study, the idea that cannabis could replace painkillers while offering fewer side effects is certainly one that should be explored. As such, researchers will need to further investigate its use before doctors will completely accept it as a suitable replacement.
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