In the world of cannabis, clinical studies are woefully limited and many of them are conducted outside the US. As more states states continue to take opposing sides on cannabis, which remains federally illegal, we turn to research both from abroad and in states with legal use to support mountains of anecdotal evidence. Here’s a round up of recent clinical studies regarding cannabis.
No Increase in Pain Sensitivity
Cannabis is increasingly being considered an alternative to opioids, a powerful pain medication that brings strong relief at the expense of serious side effects — including addiction. Now, a study out of British Columbia shows that unlike opioids, cannabis doesn’t increase pain sensitivity after long periods of use.
Among the myriad drawbacks to opioid use is the fact that long-term users struggle with increases in their sensitivity to pain. It’s a condition known as hyperalgesia, and the unfortunate repercussion is an uptick in opioid use to manage the more pronounced sensitivity to the same level of pain, which in turn increases the risk of developing an addiction. It’s a nasty cycle, and with more than 450,000 Americans dead from opioid overdose between 1999 and 2018, it’s clearly a problem. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for pain for many years, and it’s one of the main reasons people turn to medicinal cannabis. Studies like this underscore its efficacy as a viable alternative to opioids for pain management.
Improved Quality of Life for Seniors
Researchers affiliated with the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa published data in the Clinical Gerontologist that showed the use of medical cannabis in people over age 60 is positively associated with improvements in quality of life. These self-reported findings came from a group of senior citizens over a one-year period, and notably, no statistically significant association was made between the use of medical cannabis and any adverse effects.
As Treatment for Osteoarthritis
With more than twenty million Americans impacted by osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, a safe, effective treatment for symptoms of pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased joint movement is clearly warranted. Even without what it calls quality clinical studies on CBD and arthritis, The American Arthritis Foundation recommends CBD in several forms — topical, tincture, oral sprays and capsules — as a reliable pain management option.
As individual states continue to make headway on cannabis legality, it really is only a matter of time before the federal government makes sweeping change. That’s when the floodgates will really open, and researchers can begin making serious headway on badly-needed clinical trials. In the meantime, we’ll take these small victories as they come.