The use of medical cannabis for at least a month is associated with reduced opioid use in pain patients, according to a new study.
The study, titled Opioid dose reduction and pain control with medical cannabis, was published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It was conducted by researchers at the Kymera Independent Physicians medical group.
For the study, “A retrospective cohort was evaluated to understand the pattern of care and QOL [quality of life] outcomes with MC [medical cannabis] use across rural multidisciplinary practices in New Mexico. ” QOL questionnaire included a graded pain scale, and “morphine equivalent (ME) dose was used to estimate changes in opioid dose.” ODR was defined “as any reduction of baseline opioid dose.” A chi-square was performed to evaluate associations.
“A total of 133 patients were identified between Jan 2017- May 2017. (M/F) 65/68; median age of 53 (range 20 – 84)”, states the study. “Nineteen percent (25/133) had a cancer diagnosis. Pain score improved in 80 % of patients with cancer and in 75% (64/89) of non-cancer patients (x2 0.24 p = 0.62).”
Opioid dose reduction (ODR) was achieved in 41% of all patients using medical cannabis. Of these, “63% (34/54) had a 25% ODR and 37% (20/54) had 26% or more ODR (x2 12.8 p = 0.002). In cancer patients, a 25% ODR was achieved in 73% (x2 0.51 p = 0.771).”
Researchers state that “All patients (15/15) using MC and high dose opioid (morphine equivalent ≥ 50 mg/day) had some ODR. Co-adjuvant NSAIDs [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug] with MC improved pain score in 67% of all cases vs 33% among non-NSAID cohort (x2 10.7 p = 0.001). ODR was achieved in 32% of patients with active depression vs 68% of patients without (x2 0.044 p = 0.83).”
The study concludes by stating that “In this rural cohort, MC use led to ODR in 41% of all patients.”
Click here for more information on this study.