Medical marijuana seems to help chronic pain patients, appears to be safe: study

A benchmark study has found that patients who use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain don't have more serious side-effects than sufferers who don't use the herb.

TORONTO — A benchmark study has found that patients who use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain don’t have more serious side-effects than sufferers who don’t use the herb.

Dr. Mark Ware, the Montreal pain specialist who led the national study, says medical cannabis appears to have a reasonable safety profile when taken by patients who are experienced users.

The four-year study followed 215 adults with chronic non-cancer pain who used medical cannabis and compared them to a control group of 216 chronic pain sufferers who were not marijuana users.

The cannabis group was given access to herbal cannabis containing 12.5 per cent of the active ingredient THC from a licensed cannabis producer.

Researchers found significant improvement in pain levels, mood and quality of life among pot users compared to the control group, and no evidence of harmful effects on cognitive function.

However, cannabis users had an increased risk of non-serious side-effects such as headache, nausea, dizziness and respiratory problems associated with smoking.

“It is important to note the limitations of the study,” said Ware. “Patients were self-selected, not randomized, and most were experienced users. So what we are seeing is that it appears to be a relatively safe drug when used by people who have already determined that it helps them.

“We cannot draw conclusions about safety issues of new cannabis users.”

Ware said the study, published online in The Journal of Pain, should help doctors counsel chronic-pain patients about medical marijuana’s effectiveness and its potential side-effects.

Just Posted

Despite warnings, plenty of temptations to thieves left in vehicles

Lock It or Lose It campaign still finding plenty of valuables left in plain sight

WATCH: Notley invites central Albertans to “team up” with New Democrats for equitable, prosperous future

NDP leader lashes out against her rival, Jason Kenney, calling him a cheater

Red Deer sees highest rate of fentanyl deaths

47 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018

Why Solar: Canada needs to get its collective house in order

Canada needs to get a grip. The country has one of the… Continue reading

Gardening: Take care when making plant purchases

After a cold February, the longer sunny days and warmer weather triggers… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Most Read