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Cannabis “more effective” than opioids for musculoskeletal pain, finds survey

Eighty-nine percent of participants said that cannabis was “more effective” than opioids for pain management.

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Cannabis “more effective” than opioids for musculoskeletal pain, finds survey

A new survey has revealed that patients with musculoskeletal disorders found cannabis to be more effective than opioids for pain management.

The findings of a new survey, led by researchers in Puerto Rico, demonstrate that patients perceive cannabis to be an effective pain management tool for musculoskeletal pain.

In addition, the majority of those who took part in the study found it to be a “better alternative” than opioids to attain adequate pain control.

Musculoskeletal conditions are a group of conditions that affect the bones, joints, muscles and spine, and are a common cause of severe long term pain and physical disability.

They include conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, which can be hard to treat and often rely on managing the symptoms with commonly prescribed painkillers, such as opioids.

Investigators surveyed 184 patients with chronic pain conditions regarding their use of medical cannabis.

Eighty-nine percent of survey participants said that cannabis was “more effective” than opioids for pain management.

Respondents suffering specifically from musculoskeletal conditions reported an average reduction of 4.47 points on the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) following cannabis administration.

Authors concluded: “This study showed that the use of medical cannabis among patients with musculoskeletal conditions effectively reduced pain levels based on their NRS reported scores. 

“In addition, most patients using medical cannabis consider that this drug represents a better option than narcotics (e.g., opioids) for adequate pain management. Additional studies on medical cannabis should evaluate whether the experience and perspective presented through this study could translate into satisfactory and consistent clinical outcomes.”

Existing research

The latest findings are consistent with those of previous studies.

Survey data from 2020 estimated that one in five Canadian patients battling musculoskeletal disorders used cannabis to ease their pain. 

Among pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programmes in the US, most subjects report decreasing or even eliminating their use of opiates.

Elsewhere, a recent review of preclinical and clinical research on the effect of cannabinoids on fibromyalgia also found that cannabis and cannabis-based medicines “show promise” therapeutically.

 

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