TUESDAY, March 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Medical marijuana could possibly be a viable various to opioid painkillers for individuals coping with arthritis or continual again ache, two new research present.
Many sufferers prescribed opioids for his or her continual ache wound up taking fewer painkillers — or stopping them altogether — after docs licensed them for medical hashish, mentioned lead researcher Dr. Asif Ilyas, an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia.
“We discovered broadly a major discount in opioid use after they began utilizing medical hashish,” Ilyas mentioned. “We noticed a lower in roughly 40% of opioid use after beginning medical hashish, with 37% to 38% of sufferers fully discontinuing opioid use altogether.”
If validated, these outcomes point out that medical marijuana could possibly be a possible technique of combating America’s opioid epidemic, which has been pushed partially by prescription painkillers, mentioned Dr. Stuart Fischer, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Medication in Summit, N.J.
“Now we have an enormous variety of people who find themselves on opioids who’re being handled for continual again ache,” mentioned Fischer, who wasn’t a part of the research. “If we may transfer that inhabitants to one thing that is safer however simply as efficient, we’d do very nicely.”
Between February 2018 and July 2019, docs licensed the sufferers to buy medical marijuana within the state of Pennsylvania. The sufferers have been allowed to make use of pot as they selected — some vaped or smoked, whereas others used edibles.
Docs then tracked the sufferers’ opioid painkiller use for six months utilizing a state-run prescription drug monitoring database, and utilizing an opioid measurement referred to as morphine milligram equivalents (MME):
- Common day by day opioid prescriptions for arthritis sufferers declined throughout the research interval, falling from 18.2 to 9.8 MME.
- Again ache sufferers additionally expertise a discount of their common day by day opioid prescriptions, from 15.1 to 11 MME.
- About 37% of arthritis sufferers and 38% of again ache sufferers give up opioid painkillers altogether.
Sufferers in each teams skilled a discount of their ache signs and an enchancment of their bodily well being.
Medical hashish additionally would not seem to hold the identical threat of dependancy as opioid painkillers, Ilyas added.
“One of many largest central issues with opioids is each dependancy and the necessity for increased dosages to attain the identical outcomes,” Ilyas mentioned. “Primarily based on our present understanding of medical hashish, you don’t want rising doses to attain the identical outcomes and we’re not but seeing any addictive qualities to it.”
These outcomes present contemporary proof for the potential to deal with ache with medical pot, Fischer mentioned.
“Clearly these research are early. Medical marijuana has not been in public use for all that lengthy, so we want extra information and we want extra research. We want extra info,” Fischer continued. “Nonetheless, these two research are a really, excellent begin.”
Extra analysis is required, partially, to persuade insurance coverage corporations to cowl the price of medical pot as they do prescription opioids, the consultants mentioned.
“One of many largest boundaries to utilization is price,” Ilyas defined. “It is fairly costly, and there is no insurance coverage protection for it at the moment, even with non-public carriers.”
Ilyas mentioned his future analysis will deal with how advantages differ, relying on the kind of medical hashish product, and completely different supply strategies.
“We wish to emphasize this appears to be like very promising, however we’re very early in our understanding of this. Extra investigation is required,” Ilyas mentioned.
Ilyas introduced outcomes from the 2 research on the annual assembly of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, going down this week in Chicago. Info introduced at conferences ought to be thought-about preliminary till printed in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Mayo Clinic has extra about medical hashish.
SOURCES: Asif Ilyas, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, Philadelphia; Stuart Fischer, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Medication, Summit, N.J.; March 22-26, 2022 shows, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, annual assembly, Chicago