Chronic pain is common in the United States and prescribed opioid analgesics use for noncancer pain has increased dramatically in the past two decades, possibly accounting for the current opioid addiction epidemic. Our data suggest that new medical cannabis legislation might reduce the need for opioid analgesics for pain management, which could help to address adverse events associated with opioid analgesic use.
Medical cannabis (MC) is commonly claimed to be an effective treatment for chronic or refractory pain. With interest in MC in the United States growing, as evidenced by the 29 states and 3 US districts that now have public MC programs, the need for clinical evidence supporting this claim has never been greater. This was a retrospective, mirror-image study that investigated MC’s effectiveness in patients suffering from chronic pain associated with qualifying conditions for MC in New York State. After 3 months treatment, MC improved quality of life, reduced pain and opioid use, and lead to cost savings.