San Juan, Puerto Rico: Patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain disorders report obtaining significant relief following their use of medical cannabis products, according to data published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
A team of Puerto Rican investigators surveyed 184 patients with chronic pain conditions regarding their use of medical cannabis. (Lawmakers legalized patient access to certain cannabis preparations in 2015.)
Respondents suffering specifically from musculoskeletal conditions reported an average reduction of 4.47 points on the Numeric Rating Scale following cannabis administration. Eighty-nine percent of survey participants said that cannabis was “more effective” than opioids for pain management – a finding that is consistent with other studies.
Authors concluded: “This study showed that the use of medical cannabis among patients with musculoskeletal conditions effectively reduced pain levels based on their NRS reported scores. In addition, most patients using medical cannabis considered that this drug represents a better option than narcotics (e.g., opioids) for adequate pain management. Additional studies on medical cannabis should evaluate whether the experience and perspective presented through this study could translate into satisfactory and consistent clinical outcomes.”
Survey data from 2020 estimated that one in five Canadian patients battling musculoskeletal disorders used cannabis to ease their pain. Among pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs, most subjects report decreasing or even eliminating their use of opiates.
Full text of the study, “Patient experience and perspective on medical cannabis as an alternative for musculoskeletal pain management,” appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Additional information on cannabis and chronic pain is available from NORML.