Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University recently undertook a systemic review of thousands of pieces of literature they hoped would shed light on cannabis as an effective treatment for pain. They concluded that some forms of cannabis might offer short term pain relief but, beyond that, there wasn’t enough scientific data to reach any further conclusions.
This is not surprising to those of us who follow Medical Cannabis. While the OHSU researchers were clearly surprised by a lack of scientific data, most of us in the Medical Cannabis field have been lamenting that fact for years. There is so little clinical research into Medical Cannabis as a pain treatment that it is extremely hard for skeptical doctors to make a decision.
If nothing else, the OHSU study reveals how desperately we need Washington to take the shackles off and begin encouraging large high-scale clinical studies.
Researchers looked at more than 3,000 studies published in scientific literature. Their first surprise came when they found only twenty-five that offered scientifically valid data. Eighteen of those were randomized and controlled studies; the other seven were observational studies that lasted a minimum of four weeks.
The good news is that their analysis revealed data suggesting that Medical Cannabis does offer short term pain relief. An exact definition of “short term” was not forthcoming. Nonetheless, even if short term pain relief only lasts a day, using Medical Cannabis on a daily basis should provide patients with a measure of relief.
It should also be noted that the limited amount of positive data the researchers uncovered related to 100% THC products or alternatives with equal amounts of THC and CBD. The researchers found no evidence that 100% CBD oils offered any pain relief whatsoever.
It is unfortunate that the OHSU researchers didn’t uncover more scientifically valid data in support of Medical Cannabis as a pain treatment. Small scale studies are out there, as we have demonstrated in numerous blog posts. But we are still lacking even a single comprehensive study enrolling thousands of patients and tracking their results over many months.
Until we have such data, your best bet is to talk with your medical provider about using Medical Cannabis to relieve chronic pain. Both chronic and acute pain are now on the Utah list of qualifying conditions.
Doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and podiatrists with prescribing authority in the state of Utah can apply to become Qualified Medical Providers (QMPs). Being certified as a QMP allows a medical provider to recommend Medical Cannabis to up to six hundred patients.
In addition, Utah’s Limited Medical Provider (LMP) program allows any of the previously mentioned medical providers to recommend Medical Cannabis to up to fifteen patients without having to become a QMP. That means your provider, if amenable, could recommend you for a Medical Cannabis Card. Talk with your medical provider and see what kind of response you get.
Assuming you are able to obtain your card, we want you to know that your experience will probably be unique to some degree. Endless numbers of patients report that Medical Cannabis relieves their pain. However, they do not all necessarily report the exact same experience with the drug.
We invite you to consider getting your Medical Cannabis Card if don’t yet have one and you struggle with chronic pain. Medical Cannabis could be the best treatment for your pain. Meanwhile, here’s hoping the powers that be remove the shackles so that we can start producing some real research data with large-scale studies.