Often users of cannabis report that they take it for pain. New research suggests that it may have no effect on chronic pain. Certainly cannabis use is higher in those with pain. But this may not be for relief of pain and could even be detrimental to them.
The recent study published in the Lancet Public Health journal from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW did a random selection of 1500 people using opioids for chronic pain (1).
During four years those who used cannabis reported more severe pain and more anxiety. Interestingly a previous NDARC study suggested cannabis might reduce pain by up to 30%.
The researchers said more research was needed to test the claims of benefits. These claims often seem to originate from growers and promoters which has raised interest in cannabis use for medicinal purposes.
Cannabis does help in some rare forms of epilepsy in children, multiple sclerosis and nausea from chemotherapy.
(1) Lancet Public Health. 2018 Jul;3(7): e341-e350. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30110-5. Effect of cannabis use in people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed opioids: findings from a 4-year prospective cohort study.