Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study.

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“Current levels and dangers of opioid use in the U.S. warrant the investigation of harm-reducing treatment alternatives.

PURPOSE:

A preliminary, historical, cohort study was used to examine the association between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and opioid prescription use.

RESULTS:

By the end of the 21 month observation period, MCP enrollment was associated with 17.27 higher age- and gender-adjusted odds of ceasing opioid prescriptions (CI 1.89 to 157.36, p = 0.012), 5.12 higher odds of reducing daily prescription opioid dosages (CI 1.56 to 16.88, p = 0.007), and a 47 percentage point reduction in daily opioid dosages relative to a mean change of positive 10.4 percentage points in the comparison group (CI -90.68 to -3.59, p = 0.034). The monthly trend in opioid prescriptions over time was negative among MCP patients (-0.64mg IV morphine, CI -1.10 to -0.18, p = 0.008), but not statistically different from zero in the comparison group (0.18mg IV morphine, CI -0.02 to 0.39, p = 0.081). Survey responses indicated improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and few side effects from using cannabis one year after enrollment in the MCP (ps<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29145417

“In summary, if cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic.”   http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187795

“Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction”  http://news.unm.edu/news/study-finds-medical-cannabis-is-effective-at-reducing-opioid-addiction

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Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

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“A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use cannabis and significant reductions in opioid use.

The study titled, “Associations between Medical Cannabis and Prescription Opioid Use in Chronic Pain Patients: A Preliminary Cohort Study,” and published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by Drs. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Sarah See Stith, assistant professor, Department of Economics.

The results from this preliminary study showed a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications for treating chronic pain.

“If cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic,””

http://news.unm.edu/news/study-finds-medical-cannabis-is-effective-at-reducing-opioid-addiction

“Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study.” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187795

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Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts.

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“Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession, medical cannabis legalization, and legalization of recreational cannabis.  In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis.  While cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be evaluated as pharmacotherapy for medical conditions, currently, the best evidence exists for the following medical conditions: chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis.  We also reviewed the current state of evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for a number of other medical conditions while addressing the potential acute and chronic effects of cannabis use, which are issues that physicians must consider before making an official recommendation on the use of medical cannabis to a patient.  As patient requests for medical cannabis increase, physicians must become knowledgeable on the science of medical cannabis and open to a discussion about why the patient feels that medical cannabis may be helpful to them.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29067992

http://pamw.pl/en/issue/article/29067992

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Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

AAP Gateway

“CONTEXT: Legalization of medical marijuana in many states has led to a widening gap between the accessibility and the evidence for cannabinoids as a medical treatment.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review published reports to identify the evidence base of cannabinoids as a medical treatment in children and adolescents.

RESULTS: Evidence for benefit was strongest for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, with increasing evidence of benefit for epilepsy.”  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/10/19/peds.2017-1818

“Limited data on medical cannabis use in children. Strongest evidence supports use to reduce seizures, side effects of chemotherapy.”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171023094606.htm

“Marijuana Can Help Children with Seizures, Cancer Nausea”   https://www.healthline.com/health-news/marijuana-can-help-children-with-seizures-cancer-nausea

“Medical Marijuana Reduces CINV, Seizures in Children”  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/887616

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Reprint of: survey of medicinal cannabis use among childbearing women: patterns of its use in pregnancy and retroactive self-assessment of its efficacy against ‘morning sickness’.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

“A majority of women experience some nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy. This condition can range from mild nausea to extreme nausea and vomiting, with 1-2% of women suffering from the life-threatening condition hyperemesis gravidarum.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) may be used therapeutically to mitigate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.

This paper presents the results of a survey of 84 female users of medicinal cannabis, recruited through two compassion societies in British Columbia, Canada. Of the seventy-nine respondents who had experienced pregnancy, 51 (65%) reported using cannabis during their pregnancies. While 59 (77%) of the respondents who had been pregnant had experienced nausea and/or vomiting of pregnancy, 40 (68%) had used cannabis to treat the condition, and of these respondents, 37 (over 92%) rated cannabis as ‘extremely effective’ or ‘effective.’

Our findings support the need for further investigations into cannabis therapy for severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19880090

“Marijuana use is common in pregnancy but may not be an independent risk factor for poor neonatal outcomes in term pregnancies.”  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000293781500527X

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Efficacy, tolerability and safety of cannabis-based medicines for chronic pain management – An overview of systematic reviews.

European Journal of Pain

“Medicinal cannabis has already entered mainstream medicine in some countries.

Cannabis-based medicines undoubtedly enrich the possibilities of drug treatment of chronic pain conditions.

It remains the responsibility of the health care community to continue to pursue rigorous study of cannabis-based medicines to provide evidence that meets the standard of 21st century clinical care.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29034533

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1118/abstract

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Recreational Cannabis Legalization and Opioid-Related Deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015.

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“To examine the association between Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis use and opioid-related deaths.

RESULTS:

Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month (b = -0.68; 95% confidence interval = -1.34, -0.03) reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado.

CONCLUSIONS:

Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis.”

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Cannabis for the Treatment of Chronic Pain in the Era of an Opioid Epidemic: A Symposium-Based Review of Sociomedical Science.

Pain Medicine

“This manuscript reviews medical literature published pertaining to the management of chronic pain with medical marijuana therapy (MMJ), with an emphasis on the social, medical, and legal aspects of therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increasing interest in MMJ for chronic pain underscores a need for primary care and pain physicians to better understand the indications and evidence for its use free from cultural bias. Given a lack of full conclusive clinical utility, continued research is needed to better understand how to best utilize MMJ therapy for the treatment of chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29016917

https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/pm/pnx143/3964518/Cannabis-for-the-Treatment-of-Chronic-Pain-in-the?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Daily cannabis and reduced risk of steatosis in human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus co-infected patients (ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH).

Journal of Viral Hepatitis

“Liver steatosis is common in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) co-infected patients. Some recent studies have found that cannabis use is negatively associated with insulin resistance in the general population and in HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

Given the causal link between insulin resistance and steatosis, we hypothesized that cannabis use has a positive impact on steatosis.

Therefore, we aimed to study whether cannabis use in this population was associated with a reduced risk of steatosis, measured by ultrasound examination.

The ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH cohort is a French nationwide multicenter of HIV-HCV co-infected patients. Medical and socio-behavioral data from clinical follow-up visits and annual self-administered questionnaires were prospectively collected. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using data from the first visit where both ultrasound examination data for steatosis (positive or negative diagnosis) and data on cannabis use were available. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the association between cannabis use and steatosis. Among study sample patients (n=838), 40.1% had steatosis. Fourteen percent reported daily cannabis use, 11.7% regular use, and 74.7% no use or occasional use (“never or sometimes”).

Daily cannabisuse was independently associated with a reduced prevalence of steatosis (adjusted odds ratio [95%]=0.64 [0.42;0.99]; p=0.046), after adjusting for body mass index, hazardous alcohol consumption and current or lifetime use of lamivudine/zidovudine. Daily cannabisuse may be a protective factor against steatosis in HIV-HCV co-infected patients. These findings confirm the need for a clinical evaluation of cannabis-based pharmacotherapies in this population.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28984055

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvh.12797/abstract

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Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

“Many medical marijuana patients report using marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from musculoskeletal problems and other sources. If marijuana is used as a substitute for powerful and addictive pain relievers in medical marijuana states, a potential overlooked positive impact of medical marijuana laws may be a reduction in harms associated with opioid pain relievers, a far more addictive and potentially deadly substance. To assess this issue, we study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. We use two measures of problematic use: treatment admissions for opioid pain reliever addiction from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and state-level opioid overdose deaths in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). Using both standard differences-in-differences models as well as synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not. We find no impact of medical marijuana laws more broadly; the mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries. We evaluate potential mechanisms. Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.”

http://www.nber.org/papers/w21345.pdf

“Cannabis use is associated with a substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States. These data suggest that Cannabis use may decrease premature deaths. Overall, prohibition is estimated to lead to similar numbers of premature deaths as drunk driving, homicide, or fatal opioid overdose. Cannabis use prevents thousands of premature deaths each year, and Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.” https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/21632

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