Research shows marijuana lowers pain with minimal side effects
Healthfinder.gov released an article on Oct.7, 2015 titled Medical Marijuana Seems Safe for Chronic Pain Patients, Study Finds. The lead author of the study is Mark Ware MD, director of clinical research for the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, McGill University Health Center, Montreal. Other contributing authors are listed at the end of this article.
The research was carried out in seven pain treatment centers in Canada for one year. 215 patients that used medical marijuana for pain relief were evaluated versus 216 patients that did not use medical marijuana. The major objective of this study was to evaluate the safety of medical marijuana. The secondary objective was to evaluate the ability of medical marijuana to relieve chronic pain.
Dr. Ware and the unidentified Healthfinder.gov author summarized the results.
In terms of a side effect profile, we felt the drug had a reasonably good safety profile, if you compare those effects to other medications.
Although this study focused on the safety of medical marijuana, Ware reported that participants also appeared to experience some pain relief through their use of the drug. The researchers also saw improvements in mood and quality of life in the marijuana users.
Jonathann Kuo MD is an interventional pain management specialist from Manhasset, NY. He stated that more studies are needed to prove the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana for long-term pain management.
We frequently find that opioids [such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin] are not a good long-term solution for chronic pain. We’d like to see some more of these long-term safety profiles of medical cannabis, and studies like these are important steps forward in that direction. I’d like to see more definitive studies before prescribing this to my patients in the future.
The article was first published online in the Journal of Pain on Sept. 16, 2015. It was released by Healthfinder.gov, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of people involved in writing this study are from the state of New York. The DEA and FDA restrictions on marijuana research have made any studies involving marijuana very difficult in the US. Marijuana is classified by the DEA in Schedule I, which is that medical marijuana has no medical value.
SOURCES: Mark Ware, M.B.B.S., director, clinical research, Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, McGill University Health Center, Montreal; Jonathann Kuo, M.D., interventional pain management specialist and attending physician, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., professor, psychology, State University of New York at Albany, and chair, NORML; Paul Armentano, deputy director, NORML.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) includes marijuana in the Schedule I category along with heroin, LSD, methaqualone, MDMA, and peyote. Schedule I drugs are categorized as being of no medical value and highly addictive. THE DEA has Oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl as Schedule II drugs. Having marijuana considered more dangerous than the Schedule II drugs is incredible. The recent enhanced enforcement of Schedule II drugs in Ohio and across the US has led to an epidemic of heroin overdoses. Making medical marijuana legally available will reduce the progression from prescribed painkillers to street painkillers to heroin to death. The complete DEA classification schedule and list of drugs in each schedule is available.
Medical marijuana has been shown to be a valuable treatment for seizure and emotional disorders for children, and for emotional disorders and pain management in adults. It should be reclassified to a Schedule IV or Schedule V category, or removed from the DEA classification schedule completely. Marijuana is not an opiate, has low addictive potential, and has been safely used in Oriental medicine for thousands of years. More studies on how to safely use marijuana with children and long-term pain sufferers should be funded by the government, with the restrictions on these studies lessened or removed.