A new study has investigated what patients themselves prefer when it comes to managing pain – opioids, which are widely distributed for intense pain relief, or medical marijuana.
The researchers found that the patients themselves much prefer medical marijuana, and many believe it is just as effective for their pain.
“This study can conclude that medical cannabis patients report successfully using cannabis along with or as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication,” the team reported in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
“Patients in this study who are using cannabis and opioids report that they are able to use less opioids and that cannabis presents less unwanted side effects than their opioid-based medication.”
The researchers, from University of California Berkeley and Kent State University emailed participants a survey asking them about their pain, and their opioid and marijuana usage.
Out of the 2,810 participants who were currently using cannabis, 828 had used opioids in the last 6 months to manage their pain.
Of that group, “97 percent of the sample ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that they are able to decrease the amount of opioids they consume when they also use cannabis. In addition, 89 percent ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that taking opioids produces unwanted side effects such as constipation and nausea,” the researchers wrote.
But interestingly, the researchers also found that “81 percent ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioids”.
Basically – if given the choice, many of the participants would prefer to use cannabis than opioids. You can see the results from this part of the study in the graph below.