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Study: Daily Marijuana Use For Chronic Pain Is Safe And Effective


grandma marijuana senior seniors cannabis grandpaBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Chronic pain patients who use herbal cannabis daily for one-year report reduced discomfort and increased quality of life compared to controls, and do not experience an increased risk of serious side effects, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pain.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal assessed the long-term health of 216 medicinal cannabis users with chronic non-cancer pain who consumed a daily standardized dose (12.5 percent THC) of herbal cannabis compared to 215 controls (chronic pain suffers who did not use cannabis). Subjects in study were approved by Health Canada to legally use medicinal cannabis and consumed, on average, 2.5 grams of herb per day, typically via inhalation or vaporization.

Investigators reported that daily cannabis consumers possessed no greater risk than non-users to experience “serious adverse events.” Specifically, researchers identified no significant adverse changes in consumers’ cognitive skills, pulmonary function, or blood work following one-year of daily cannabis consumption. Medical cannabis consumers did report elevated risk of experiencing “non-serious adverse events” (e.g., cough, dizziness, paranoia) compared to controls; however, authors classified these to be “mild to moderate.”

Pain patients who used cannabis reported a reduced sense of pain compared to controls, as well as reduced anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

“Quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile,” authors concluded.

The study is one of the first to ever assess the long-term safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis. A prior health review of patients receiving medical cannabis monthly from the US federal government as part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program similarly reported that cannabis possesses therapeutic efficacy and an acceptable side-effect profile.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study,” appears online here.

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  1. Cortez D. Distefano on

    I started using marijuana as a teen. The main reason that kept me using it was the fact that it made my stomach stop hurting. I thought I just had anxiety problems or an ulcer. I have no Idea It’s one of the reason that supress the pain I feel after I read this article from http://www.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/cbd-in-medical-marijuana/. Since reading is not my thing back then.

    I stopped using it when I was 29. In the four years that I was not using marijuana, I had painful, crampy diarrhea that lasted nearly a year.

    So I figured that if I’m going to use MM therapeutically, I’m going to do it right. Now I’m back with my vaporizer And kicking that chronic pain’s ass.

  2. After four organ failure from pharmacy meds I Live now with minimum use of those and homeopathic herbs and cannabis in all of it’s healing forms. Still disabled but life is so much better! Lost 200 lbs. and kept it off14 years, 4 titanium joints in my legs, 4 ruptured discs and multiple other issues but I am up and going. Only 2 tylenol #4s is so less toxic to my body.

  3. Catherine please how much pain are you in where being stoned as you say is a bad thing.
    You should take r so . Once you get saturated. You get a tolerance and the effects are subdued. It’s then that I see the greatest benefit. I’ve got RA and. ext. Back and neck. Injury As well as chrohns

  4. can someone please tell me if medical marijuana gives your head and body a buzz, i tried butter (non medical) and it was awful, i just want the pain to be gone not to be stoned , is that possible?

  5. The last time I went to a pain specialist: this MD. wanted to cut the nerves in my back to relieve the pain. Even I could see the down side of this “cure”. It didn’t take me long to find a different path, Cannabis ! It not only helps with the back pain it also is good for my PTSD and COPD.

  6. People need to call the whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 every single day until the president get Marijuana taken off of Schedule 1. Americans, including American children, are suffering and dying — needlessly.

  7. What gets me about these types of trials’ methodology– are asking experienced Cannabis users to rate medicinal use adverse effects, thus condoning sigmatized personal behavior via self report. (Or ‘ metaphorically culd call it a self fulfilling prophecy). Not scientific at all.

  8. Their saying what everyone that has smoked cannabis has been saying for atleast 5000 years. I didnt need to read this to know the benefits.

  9. Many, if not the majority of pain management clinics, require the patient to sign a contract that prohibits the use of cannabis. This is how my PM clinic works. It’s something that needs to change in order to get more people off of dangerous opiates, which barely help, and give patients a better chance at pain reduction without the worry of becoming dependent.

  10. I’ve been a severe chronic pain patient for over ten years (lupus and chiari), treated with fentanyl and oxycodone, which help tremendously, but never solved a number of night-time pain issues which interfered with sleep. I tried cannabis as a last resort, and wish I had tried it much earlier. I’m now on two months of pain-free sleep, and feel better than I’ve felt in many years with zero negative effects. 5 minutes on a vape machine gives me a pain-free night, and a day with more energy, more patience, more everything. There’s been a bit of a learning curve with the various strains, but the results have been worth far more than the time I’ve invested in research. For all other pain patients out there–don’t give up until you’ve tried this natural remedy!

  11. In it’s natural form, cannabis is the safest therapeutic substance known to man. If you don’t believe in the plant, then you will suffer and seek Nature’s natural medicine. There is no other “drug” that can claim to be safe, efficient and yes, free to mankind. To make Marijuana illegal is like saying God made a mistake. End the Lies and Legalize.

  12. Chronic pain management needs to change their protocols for treating pain. They give fentanyl, oxycodone, dilauid, methadone, etc. for pain. They also give injections, surgery and therapy to help pain. In many cases for chronic pain the side effects for just one pain med such as addiction says we need to use marijuana which is less addictive than any of them. Also it is the absolute safest pain medication.

  13. #efficacy
    “Not enough testing ” has been “allowed” to be done #poppycock
    Canada’s MMJ program has been around as long as U.S. Fed mmj program.
    The U.S. is purposely withholding data
    NIDA won’t publish positive results

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