| medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana: Is it Helping?

We Need More Answers

Newswise — Medical marijuana users who say they have high levels of pain are more likely than those with low pain to say they use cannabis three or more times a day, a new study finds.

However, daily marijuana users with severe pain also reported their health had become worse in the past year.

The results don’t necessarily mean that marijuana is not effective in treating at least some kinds of pain, according to the researchers. But it suggests more research is needed before marijuana is accepted as an effective treatment for severe pain.

“It’s not clear if marijuana is helping or not,” said Bridget Freisthler, co-author of the study and professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

The study was published recently in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

“Having high chronic pain is related to poorer health, so it may be that people who are using marijuana more often already had worse health to begin with,” Cooke said.

The study involved a survey of 295 medical marijuana dispensary patients in Los Angeles. The surveys were conducted in 2013, when California allowed marijuana use only for medical purposes.

All participants were asked how often they used marijuana; rated how their current health compared to one year ago (on a five-point scale from “much better” to “much worse”); and were asked two questions about their pain levels. Based on their answers, the researchers rated participants’ pain as low, moderate or high.

Among those surveyed, 31 percent reported high pain, 24 percent moderate pain, and 44 percent were in the low-pain category.

Daily marijuana use was reported by 45 percent of the sample, and 48 percent said they used three or more times per day.

The percentage of participants who used marijuana every day did not differ by pain categories. But about 60 percent of those who reported high pain used the drug three or more times a day, compared to 51 percent of those with moderate pain and 39 percent of those in the low-pain group.

Findings showed no association between daily marijuana use and change in health status... 

 

Read the full press release on Newswise.

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