24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Pain Management
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Opioids Won't Help Arthritis Patients Long-Term: StudyFewer Opioids After Eye Surgery Don't Mean More Post-Op PainTougher Rules on Opioids After Surgery Doesn't Mean More Pain for PatientsHealth Tip: Taking Anti-Inflammatory Drugs1 in 5 Heart Pacemaker Patients Prescribed Opioids After SurgeryUsing Opioids After Vasectomy May Trigger Persistent Use: StudyWhat Are the Risks of Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioids?'Alarming' Number of Lupus Patients Use Opioids for Pain: StudyOpioid Prescriptions for Eye Surgery Patients SurgeDocs Prescribe More Opioids at Certain Time of DayU.S. Opioid Prescription Rate Is 7 Times That of SwedenMany Americans Eying CBD, Pot as Pain Relievers Without Knowing RisksCBD Is the Rage, But More Science Needed on Safety, EffectivenessMixing Marijuana With Opioids May Not Be Good for Mental HealthMany Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed OpioidsFewer Opioid Painkillers Can Still Control Surgery PainFDA Grants First Approvals for Generic Versions of LyricaMore Than 5 Million U.S. Cancer Survivors Deal With Chronic PainThe Safer Way to Ease Post-Surgical PainOpioids Prescribed in Hospital Often Tied to Long-Term UseDentists Prescribe Antibiotics Far Too Often: StudyMany Patients Don't Need Opioids After SurgeryU.S. Dentists Prescribe 37 Times More Opioids Than in England: StudyCould Hypnotherapy Be Alternative to Opioids for Pain?Don't Suddenly Stop Taking a Prescribed Opioid, FDA WarnsInsurers' Denials of Opioid Coverage Spurs CDC to Clarify GuidelinesAHA News: Opioid Meds Pose Danger to Kidney Disease PatientsMedical Pot: An Elixir for the Elderly?Upbeat Attitude May Be a Pain FighterWhy Do More and More Americans Use Medical Marijuana?Little Evidence Pain Creams Work'Mindfulness' Might Help Some Conquer Chronic PainMany Parents Conflicted About Opioids for Their Teens' PainOpioid Prescriptions Almost Twice as Likely for Rural vs. Urban AmericansOpioid Use in Pregnancy Tied to Severe Birth DefectsMore Americans Mixing Opioids With SedativesOpioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not MuchHealth Tip: Things That Can Aggravate Arthritis Pain
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders

Why Do More and More Americans Use Medical Marijuana?

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Feb 5th 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Feb. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Easing chronic pain is the main reason Americans use medical marijuana, a new study finds.

"We wanted to understand the reasons why people are using cannabis medically, and whether those reasons for use are evidence-based," said lead author Kevin Boehnke. He's an investigator at University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.

Boehnke and his colleagues examined data from a 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on medical use of marijuana (cannabis). That report found conclusive or substantial evidence that marijuana eased chronic pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis.

Though the number of registered U.S. medical marijuana patients rose from more than 641,000 in 2016 to nearly 814,000 in 2017, researchers said that's likely far lower than the actual number of users.

Of the license holders, 85.5 percent said they were seeking treatment for an evidence-based condition, with chronic pain accounting for 62 percent of qualifying conditions, according to the study.

Researchers said the finding is consistent with the prevalence of chronic pain, which affects an estimated 100 million Americans.

Brandian Smith, 37, of Pana, Ill., qualified for her medical marijuana license because she has fibromyalgia.

She told the Associated Press that on bad days, her muscles feel like they're being squeezed in a vise. She said she stopped taking opioid painkillers because marijuana works better for her. She spends about $300 a month at her marijuana dispensary.

"Cannabis is the first thing I've found that actually makes the pain go away and not leave me so high that I can't enjoy my day," Smith told the AP.

As of 2018, medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, while recreational use is legal in 10 states. The federal government still classifies pot as a drug, however, with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

This study provides support for legitimate evidence-based use of medical marijuana that challenges its current federal drug status, Boehnke said.

This is important because more Americans are seeking safer alternatives to opioids for pain relief.

"Since the majority of states in the U.S. have legalized medical cannabis, we should consider how best to adequately regulate cannabis and safely incorporate cannabis into medical practice," Boehnke said in a University of Michigan news release.

The study was published in the February issue of the journal Health Affairs.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about medical marijuana.