Half of seniors report they suffer from chronic pain. It’s one of the most common health problems plaguing older Americans.
But mainstream medicine has no good solution. The standard treatment has long been opioid painkillers. That led to an addiction crisis that killed 47,000 Americans in 2017.
But now a new study points to a natural solution.
The research is scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in May. Scientists followed 204 elderly patients. All had been prescribed medical marijuana to treat chronic disease and pain.
The medication was given in liquid form. It contained various combinations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Those are the active ingredients in marijuana. Studies have found them to have beneficial effects both together and separately.
Some 70% of the subjects reported significant pain relief. And about a third of the patients found cannabis so effective they were able to reduce their use of opioid painkillers.
Dr. Laszlo Mechtler was the senior researcher. “A majority of patients came back and said, ‘I’m better.’ The efficacy rates were quite high,” he said.
“Most patients felt their quality of life had improved.”
Dr. Diana Martins-Welch is an attending physician in palliative medicine at Northwell Health in Long Island, N.Y. She said the new study backs up what other research has found…that cannabis is effective against chronic pain.
“This study really hits home with a lot of what I was seeing in the other survey data,” she said.
Dr. Mechtler said that in the midst of an American opioid epidemic, “with 115 people dying every day, anything that can decrease the potential for opiate use” is a win/win situation.
“Nobody overdoses on medical marijuana,” he pointed out.
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