Chronic Pain Patients Using Opioids Cite Fewer Side Effects with Cannabis

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Many individuals with chronic pain have turned to cannabis as an alternative form of relief—and for good reason. A recent national online survey of medical cannabis users found that more than 80 percent reported improved pain management, better health, and fewer side effects than over traditional pain management therapies including powerful prescription opiates. 

The study also found that medical cannabis users were older, less likely to drink alcohol, and twice as likely to be currently taking opioids over those patients who have a history of using marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Given that chronic pain is the most common reason cited for obtaining a medical marijuana license, these results show the differences in the changing population of medical marijuana users. 

While more research is needed to better understand how cannabis can be used in pain management regimes, this survey aligns with the findings of other observational studies suggesting cannabis could be an effective pain reliever or even a substitute for opioids. 

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