FLASH: “If Marijuana is a pain reliever so is Jack Daniels and Budweiser”
Chronic pain is the #1 reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs.
That is followed by stiffness from multiple sclerosis and chemotherapy-related nausea, according to an analysis of 15 states published this week in the journal Health Affairs.
The study did not measure whether marijuana actually helped anyone with their problems, but the patients’ reasons match up with what’s known about the science of marijuana and its chemical components.
“The majority of patients for whom we have data are using cannabis for reasons where the science is the strongest,” said lead author Kevin Boehnke of University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
California became the 1st state to allow medical use of marijuana in Y 1996. More than 30 states now allow marijuana for dozens of health problems.
Lists of allowable conditions vary by state, but in general, a doctor must certify a patient has an approved diagnosis.
The US government has approved medicines based on compounds found in the plant, it considers marijuana illegal and imposes limits on research.
That has led to states allowing some diseases and symptoms where rigorous science is lacking. Most of the evidence comes from studying pharmaceuticals based on marijuana ingredients, not from studies of smoked marijuana or edible forms.
Dementia and glaucoma are conditions where marijuana has not proved valuable, but some states include them. Many states allow Parkinson’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder where evidence is limited.
The analysis is based on Y 2016 data from the 15 states that reported the reasons given for using marijuana. Researchers compared the symptoms and conditions with a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence: a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
About 85% of patients’ reasons were supported by substantial or conclusive evidence in the National Academies report.
The study shows people are learning about the evidence for cannabis and its chemical components, said Ziva Cooper of University of California Los Angeles’ Cannabis Research Initiative. Ms. Cooper served on the National Academies report committee, but wasn’t involved in the new study.
About 68% of the 730,000 reasons were related to chronic pain, the study found. Patients could report more than 1 pain condition, so the figure may overestimate patient numbers.
The study also found that more than 800,000 patients were enrolled in medical marijuana programs in Y 2017 in 19 states. That does notcount California and Maine, which do not require patients to register. Other estimates have put the number at more than 2-M.
Note: Claims that marijuana relieves pain may be true. But the clinical studies that have been done compare it with a placebo, not even a pain reliever like ibuprofen. That’s not the type of rigorous evaluation pursued for medications. What is more, every intoxicant would pass that sort of test because you do not experience pain as acutely when you are high.
So, if marijuana is a pain reliever so is Jack Daniels and Budweiser.