Study Finds “Direct Relationship” Between Marijuana Use and Objectively Fewer Opioid and Benzodiazepine Prescriptions

A new study “provides a direct relationship between the initiation of cannabis therapy and objectively fewer opioid and benzodiazepine”.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Rothman Orthopedic Institute and Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and the Legacy Research Institute. It was published in the most recent issue of the journal Cannabis and Cananbinoids Research, and was epublished ahead of print by the National Library of Medicine.

For the study, researchers “sought to capture the medically relevant features of cannabis use in a population of patients with orthopedic pain and pair these data with objective measures of pain and prescription drug use.”

In this prospective observational study, orthopedic pain patients were enrolled in Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program by their treating pain management physician, received cannabis education from their physician at the time of certification, and purchased products from state-licensed cannabis retailers.

“Medical cannabis use was associated with clinical improvements in pain, function, and quality of life with reductions in prescription drug use; 73% either ceased or decreased opioid consumption and 31% discontinued benzodiazepines”, states the study. “Importantly, 52% of patients did not experience intoxication as a side effect of cannabis therapy. Significant clinical benefits of cannabis occurred within 3 months of initiating cannabis therapy and plateaued at the subsequent follow-ups.”

Researchers conclude by stating that “This work provides a direct relationship between the initiation of cannabis therapy and objectively fewer opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Our work also identifies specific subpopulations of patients for whom cannabis may be most efficacious in reducing opioid consumption, and it highlights the importance of both physician involvement and patient self-titration in symptom management with cannabis.”

More information on this study can be found by clicking here.