Women rate cannabis as the most effective alternative treatment method for addressing their chronic pain, according to the findings of a just-released survey conducted by the National Pain Foundation and For Grace, a non-profit devoted to better care and wellness for women in pain.
The online survey asked women to rate the efficacy of nearly a dozen non-prescription drug alternative pain therapies, including yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and massage. Eighty percent of the respondents who reported having used medicinal cannabis said that doing so alleviated their pain. By comparison, only 53 percent of respondents reported finding relief from massage therapy. No other alternative treatment was reported as effective by a majority of respondents. Only about one-third of respondents reported that more common alternatives, like physical therapy, meditation, and acupuncture were effective treatment options.
Full results of the “Women in Pain” survey appear online here.
Cannabis possesses growing popularity as an analgesic agent, particularly in the treatment of chronic neuropathy – a hard to treat type of nerve-related analgesia that is typically resistant to conventional painkillers. (It is estimated that some eight percent of U.S. citizens suffer from neuropathy, which is associated with a variety of diseases, including diabetes, HIV, and, multiple sclerosis.) In FDA-approved clinical trials, neuropathy patients have consistently reported significant pain relief following whole-plant cannabis administration, even when it is administered in especially small doses. A recent review of a number of these trials, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, concluded, “[I]t is reasonable to consider cannabinoids as a treatment option for the management of chronic neuropathic pain with evidence of efficacy in other types of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis as well.”
According to data published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, the enactment of statewide medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates — indicating that many patients, when given the option of cannabis therapy, are choosing to either substitute or greatly reduce their use of prescription opiates.
(Photo c/o sheknows.com)
Paul Armentano is Deputy Director of NORML