Yet another study suggests that cannabis could be useful as an exit drug from traditional medications, including opioids, although the research by DePaul University and Rush University researchers was based on a small sample size of 30 patients registered in Illinois’ medical cannabis program.
However, the patients, who had a mean age of 44.6-years-old and suffered from cancer, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury or disease, and Crohn’s disease, indicated they used cannabis as either an alternative to their traditional medications or as a complementary treatment “as a means for tapering off medications.” The participants said they were motivated to making the switch to medical cannabis due to concerns over their prescribed medications, including toxicity fears, dependence and tolerance issues.
“[Medical cannabis] appears to serve as both a complementary method for symptom management and treatment of medication side-effects associated with certain chronic conditions, and as an alternative method for treatment of pain, seizures, and inflammation in this population,” the researchers concluded.
Nevertheless, Kevin Sabet, the founder of prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told the Chicago Tribune that the study was “one of the worst” he has “seen in a while.”
“It was an uncontrolled observation of 30 people who were mixing pot with other drugs,” he said in the report.
Douglas Bruce, assistant professor of health sciences at DePaul and the study’s lead author, said that Sabat’s analysis is rooted in his own bias and that “there’s power in people telling their stories in a way you can’t get in a survey.”
“It’s important to do qualitative research to understand how people are using cannabis, then figure out how to measure it,” he said in the report. “ … One of the most compelling things to come out of this is that people are taking control of their own health, and most providers would agree that’s a good thing.”
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