TUESDAY, March 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Medical marijuana could possibly be a viable different to opioid painkillers for folks coping with arthritis or power again ache, two new research present.

Many sufferers prescribed opioids for his or her power ache wound up taking fewer painkillers — or stopping them altogether — after medical doctors licensed them for medical hashish, stated lead researcher Dr. Asif Ilyas, an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia.

“We discovered broadly a big discount in opioid use after they began utilizing medical hashish,” Ilyas stated. “We noticed a lower in roughly 40% of opioid use after beginning medical hashish, with 37% to 38% of sufferers utterly discontinuing opioid use altogether.”

If validated, these outcomes point out that medical marijuana could possibly be a possible technique of combating America’s opioid epidemic, which has been pushed partly by prescription painkillers, stated Dr. Stuart Fischer, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Medication in Summit, N.J.

“Now we have an enormous variety of people who find themselves on opioids who’re being handled for power again ache,” stated Fischer, who wasn’t a part of the research. “If we might transfer that inhabitants to one thing that is safer however simply as efficient, we might do very properly.”

For the research, Ilyas and his colleagues recruited 186 sufferers with power again ache and 40 sufferers with power arthritis ache.

Between February 2018 and July 2019, medical doctors licensed the sufferers to buy medical marijuana within the state of Pennsylvania. The sufferers have been allowed to make use of pot as they selected — some vaped or smoked, whereas others used edibles.

Docs then tracked the sufferers’ opioid painkiller use for six months utilizing a state-run prescription drug monitoring database, and utilizing an opioid measurement known as morphine milligram equivalents (MME):

  • Common day by day opioid prescriptions for arthritis sufferers declined throughout the examine interval, falling from 18.2 to 9.8 MME.
  • Again ache sufferers additionally expertise a discount of their common day by day opioid prescriptions, from 15.1 to 11 MME.
  • About 37% of arthritis sufferers and 38% of again ache sufferers give up opioid painkillers altogether.

Sufferers in each teams skilled a discount of their ache signs and an enchancment of their bodily well being.

Medical hashish additionally does not seem to hold the identical danger of habit as opioid painkillers, Ilyas added.

“One of many greatest central issues with opioids is each habit and the necessity for greater dosages to realize the identical outcomes,” Ilyas stated. “Primarily based on our present understanding of medical hashish, you do not want growing doses to realize the identical outcomes and we’re not but seeing any addictive qualities to it.”

These outcomes present recent proof for the potential to deal with ache with medical pot, Fischer stated.

“Clearly these research are early. Medical marijuana has not been in public use for all that lengthy, so we want extra information and we want extra research. We want extra info,” Fischer continued. “Nonetheless, these two research are a really, excellent begin.”

Extra analysis is required, partly, to persuade insurance coverage firms to cowl the price of medical pot as they do prescription opioids, the specialists stated.

“One of many greatest limitations to utilization is value,” Ilyas defined. “It is fairly costly, and there is no insurance coverage protection for it at the moment, even with non-public carriers.”

Ilyas stated his future analysis will give attention to how advantages differ, relying on the kind of medical hashish product, and completely different supply strategies.

“We need to emphasize this seems to be very promising, however we’re very early in our understanding of this. Extra investigation is required,” Ilyas stated.

Ilyas offered outcomes from the 2 research on the annual assembly of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, going down this week in Chicago. Data offered at conferences ought to be thought-about preliminary till printed in a peer-reviewed journal.

Extra info

The Mayo Clinic has extra about medical hashish.

SOURCES: Asif Ilyas, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, Philadelphia; Stuart Fischer, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Summit Orthopaedics and Sports activities Medication, Summit, N.J.; March 22-26, 2022 displays, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, annual assembly, Chicago

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