Study: 40% of Chronic Pain Patients Replace Opioids with Cannabis

A recent survey of 525 chronic pain patients found that 40.4% of respondents had replaced their opioid-based medications with medical cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

A survey of 525 chronic pain patients who had used prescription opioid medications continuously for at least three months in addition to medical cannabis found 40.4% of respondents had replaced their opioid-based medications with cannabis.

Another 45.2% reported decreasing their reliance on opioids, with 13.3% reporting no change in their use, and 1.1% saying their opioid use increased.

Nearly half of respondents (48.2%) indicated a 40%-100% pain decrease while using both cannabis and opioids, while 8.6% had no change and 2.6% said their pain was actually worse. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported an improved quality of life while using medical cannabis.

Nearly 63% of respondents said they did not want to continue using opioid-based medications.

“Patients in this study reported that cannabis was a useful adjunct and substitute for prescription opioids in treating their chronic pain and had the added benefit of improving the ability to function and quality of life.” — A Survey on the Effect That Medical Cannabis Has on Prescription Opioid Medication Usage for the Treatment of Chronic Pain at Three Medical Cannabis Practice Sites, Cureus, Dec. 2, 2020

The study used data from surveys conducted through Integr8 Health, three affiliated cannabis medical practices in Maine and Massachusetts. A total of 1181 patients responded to the survey but 656 were excluded for not using medical cannabis in combination with opioids or not meeting the definition of chronic pain. The majority of the respondents were male (55.8%) and nearly one-third were aged 46 to 55, while another quarter were 56- to 65-years-old.

The study was authored by Intigr8 Medical Director Dustin Sulak and Kevin M. Takakuwa, a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. Cureus is a San Francisco, California-based open-access medical journal.

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