By / July 20, 2022

Another Study Confirms the Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Pain Management

A new study from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel) reaffirms the effectiveness of medical cannabis in relieving pain. In addition, it also confirms that cannabis can reduce the need for opioid analgesics in cancer patients.

Given minimal side effects, medical cannabis can be considered an alternative to painkillers usually prescribed to cancer patients, underlines this study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pain Research.

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Study Overview

This comprehensive review of the benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain confirms, for most oncology patients, significant improvement in pain measures but also other cancer-related symptoms, including depression, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

By relieving these symptoms, which are among the most significant factors of suffering and degradation of the quality of life in oncology patients, cannabis also makes it possible to prevent the worsening of the condition and the prognosis.

Cannabis Rather Than Opioids

“Traditionally, cancer pain has been treated with opioid analgesics, but most oncologists perceive opioid treatment as dangerous, so there is a real need for treatment alternatives,” says lead author David Meiri, Professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. It was by speaking with cancer patients who were looking for alternatives to relieve pain and symptoms that the team sought to assess the benefits of medical cannabis thoroughly.

Study Methods

The researchers first analyzed data from the existing literature but considered that ultimately, “not much was known about the effectiveness of medical cannabis for the treatment of cancer-related pain, and that most of the available results were inconclusive.”

Therefore, the researchers collected information from the start of the treatment and then during repeated follow-ups over an extended period so that they could carry out a thorough analysis of its effectiveness. 

Oncologists capable of dispensing medical cannabis prescriptions to their cancer patients were recruited. These oncologists referred patients to the study and reported on the characteristics of their disease. The patients were informed about their symptoms by anonymous questionnaires before starting the treatment, then several times during the following six months.

The Results

The analysis included measures of pain, painkiller consumption, cancer symptoms, sexual problems, and side effects. The analysis reveals:

  • Improvements in all symptoms
  • A significant reduction in pain
  • Reduced use of opioids and other painkillers

Almost half of the participants eventually stopped all painkillers after 6 months of treatment with medical cannabis.

A Surprising Result

“Interestingly, we find that sexual function improves with medical cannabis for most men but deteriorates for most women,” note the researchers who plan to conduct further research on the effects of medical cannabis according to patient groups.

(Featured image by Thirdman via Pexels)

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