People who use cannabis for chronic, non-cancer pain are not likely to find significant relief and may even experience more severe pain over time, according to a four-year study conducted by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
Prescribed-opioid use may not go down either.
Patients who took cannabis over the four-year period continued to take the same amount of opioid medication as as those who did not use cannabis. The severity of anxiety was also higher in those taking both cannabis and opioids.
The authors note that patients using cannabis to relieve their pain might represent those with more distress and poorer coping mechanisms.
“It could be that in the absence of cannabis use, pain severity and interference might have been worse,” they said.
The study calls for more research to better understand what types of patients with chronic non-cancer pain might benefit from using cannabinoids
The research is thought be one of the longest, in-depth studies of people with various types of chronic non-cancer pain that examined the effects of cannabis use on pain and prescribed opioid use during four years of follow-up.
Other research says cannabinoids can help with pain.