Report: Cannabis May Help Wean Chronic Pain Patients Off of Opioids

According to a new case report a patient with a multi-year history of chronic pain and opioid use was weaned off prescription opiates following the use of medical cannabis. The report, titled Medical cannabis as an alternative for opioids for chronic pain: A case report, was published by Medical Case Reports.

In the report a clinician with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania reported that a 43-year-old female patient with head trauma found relief from the inhalation of medical cannabis. According to NORML he reported that the patient’s pain scores decreased from 8 out of 10 on the visual analog scale to 2 out of 10 following cannabis initiation. During this time, the patient also was able to “completely wean off her opioid narcotics and reported no side effects.” The patient was confirmed by a drug test to still be opioid-free after six-months. The patient had previously been prescribed opioids for pain relief for a period of several years.

The report concludes by stating: “Our patient was successfully weaned off her opioid medications with the help of medical cannabis and pain remained well controlled. More studies need to be done on using medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids.”

The full abstract can be found below:

Opioid medication–related deaths have increased to epidemic proportions in the last decade. This report describes a case of 43-year-old female with a traumatic brain injury who developed chronic pain and opioid dependence. The patient expressed concerns and wanted weaning off opioids. Recent legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania allows us to try it as an alternative to opioids for chronic pain. Medical cannibus has risks associated with administration but is safer than opioids. Our patient was successfully weaned off her opioid medications with the help of medical cannibus and pain remained well controlled. More studies need to be done on using medical cannibus as an alternative to opioids.

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