The Minnesota Department of Health reported today that 42 percent of the more than 2,000 first-time medicinal marijuana users with intractable pain enrolled in its research study obtained significant pain relief. In announcing the results, the Minnesota Health Commissioner said, “We need additional and more rigorous study, but these results are clinically significant and promising for both pain treatment and reducing opioid dependence.”
The study found that 63 percent of the patients who were taking opioids for their chronic pain when they started taking cannabis were able to reduce or eliminate their opioid use after six months. Some patients were also able to reduce their use of other pain medicines, as well as benzodiazepines.
This is not the first study to point to the potential of cannabis in reducing opioid use. A study reported in JAMA in 2014 by researchers looked at all 50 states from 1999-2010 and found opioid overdose