More Research & Evidence Needed to Support Cannabis in Pain Treatment
Newswise — Residents of states where cannabis has been legalized are more likely to believe it has beneficial effects - including health benefits in treatment of pain and anxiety or depression, reports a survey study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.
"Our results show that residents of states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use have an overall more favorable view towards potential benefits of marijuana use and were more likely to attribute benefits to marijuana use that are not supported by evidence," write Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH, of University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues. They believe their findings raise concerns, at a time when the cannabis industry is growing rapidly and new products are being aggressively marketed.
The researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of approximately 9,000 US adults for their beliefs and opinions regarding cannabis. Viewpoints were compared for residents of states where is legal for recreational use, legal for medical use, or not legal.
"Overall, residents of states where marijuana was legalized for recreational purposes were more likely to endorse the belief that marijuana use had benefits compared to residents of other states," Dr. Keyhani and coauthors write. Most respondents believed that cannabis is beneficial for pain management: 73 percent in "recreationally legal" states, 67 percent in "medically legal" states, and 63 percent in "non-legal" states.
There's limited evidence to support the effectiveness of cannabis in pain treatment. More research is needed to establish whether cannabinoids are beneficial in the management of pain, Dr. Keyhani and coauthors write. In addition, the possible benefits of cannabinoid therapeutics cannot be extrapolated to untested and unregulated high-potency products currently marketed to the public.
Residents of states where cannabis is recreationally legal were also more likely to believe it has other unproven or unstudied benefits, such as relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. There's no evidence that cannabis can help treat these conditions – in fact, some data suggests cannabis use may adversely affect the management of anxiety and depression. Residents of recreationally legal states were more likely to say that smoking cannabis is "somewhat or much safer" than smoking tobacco – a belief unsupported by research evidence.
For more information, click on medical marijuana.
Read the full press release on Newswise.
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