Medicinal use of cannabis is now widespread in the U.S. and many people are convinced that pot use helps ease pain for the ill — perhaps even better than other drugs.
But, little research backs up that claim. And a new study also casts doubt on the efficacy of pot use for pain relief.
According to Science Alert:
Our study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests cannabis is no better at relieving pain than a placebo.
To conduct our study, we looked at the results of randomized controlled trials in which cannabis was compared with a placebo for the treatment of clinical pain. We specifically included studies that compared the change in pain intensity before and after treatment. In total, we looked at 20 studies involving almost 1,500 people altogether.
The studies we included looked at a variety of different pain conditions (such as neuropathic pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves, and multiple sclerosis) and types of cannabis products – including THC, CBD and synthetic cannabis (such as nabilone). These treatments were administered in a variety of ways, including via pill, spray, oil and smoked.
The majority of the study’s participants were female (62 percent) and aged between 33 and 62. Most of the studies were conducted in the US, UK or Canada – though we also included studies from Brazil, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, the Czech Republic and Spain.
Our meta-analysis showed that pain was rated as being significantly less intense after treatment with a placebo, with a moderate to large effect depending on each person. Our team also observed no significant difference between cannabis and a placebo for reducing pain.
We continue to discover that pot use is not the panacea that advocates claim.Commentary