A questionnaire of elderly men and women suffering from chronic pain who were given medical marijuana found that marijuana significantly reduced their pain and need for opioid painkillers, report Northwell Health researchers.
An overwhelming number of participants, 91%, said they would recommend medical marijuana to others. When asked if they were able to curb their use of other painkillers after starting medical marijuana, 18% reported decreasing their use “moderately,” 20% “extremely,” and 27% “completely.”
One participant said, “It [medical marijuana] is extremely effective and has allowed me to function in my work and life again. It has not completely taken away the pain, but allows me to manage it.”
“I was on opiates for 15 years” and “my quality of life has increased considerably since starting medical marijuana,” stated another participant.
These patients had been living with chronic pain from osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, hips and knees that could not be replaced, and pain not relieved by steroid injections, said Dr. Diana Martins-Welch, a co-author of the study and physician in the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine at Northwell Health.
Based on these results, Martins-Welch believes that medical marijuana could be effective in curbing the opioid epidemic now ravaging the United States.
“What I’m seeing in my practice, and what I’m hearing from other providers who are participating in medical marijuana programs, is that their patients are using less opioids,” said Martins-Welch. “I’ve even gotten some patients completely off opioids.”