New observational study on medical cannabis and chronic pain

July 8, 2020

The effect of medical cannabis on chronic pain is very well researched. Therefore, it is considered a therapeutic option with few side effects in the treatment of chronic pain. An observational study from Canada proofed that again.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is caused by an injury or damage and is usually limited to the place of origin, such as a broken leg. The intensity of pain depends on the injury. The pain ends when the injury has healed.

We speak of chronic pain if it persists for at least three months. The causes are usually not apparent or the pain persists even though the cause has been eliminated. As a result, an independent disease forms and the brain develops a pain memory.

Treatment of chronic pain

Often the therapy shapes difficultly. Therefore, multimodal therapy, i.e. a combination of different treatments, is commonly used. These include, for example, physical therapies, psychological therapies or complementary procedures such as naturopathic treatment.

In addition to these therapy options, drugs also play an important role in pain medicine. Classic pain medication such as paracetamol, ASS or ibuprofen can relieve pain. However, these drugs can cause serious side effects if taken over a long period of time. Opioids or opiates are also often prescribed for very severe pain, which can not only cause severe side effects but also have a high potential for addiction.

Results of the study

Canadian researchers from Toronto have worked on a prospective observational study with 751 chronic pain patients over a period of 12 months who started medical cannabis treatment. The results show that the patients' pain severity improved after one month of treatment and did not worsen over the 12-month period. Within three months, significant improvements in physical and mental health were also observed. In addition, symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, nausea and fatigue decreased in patients.

Particularly interesting is that patients taking opioid drugs were able to reduce the dose by using medical cannabis.

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