For supporters of marijuana, the path to approval appears cloudy at best. However, a new study released just weeks ago suggests that marijuana's best chance at federal approval could be solely for medicinal use. In other words, forget the idea of recreational legalization (for now) and focus solely on legalizing marijuana for specific medical ailments.
The study in question comes from researchers at the Hebrew University of Israel who evaluated the responses of patients to THC-dominant cannabis taken daily over the course of six months. The 176-patient study involved patients with chronic pain conditions who had been previously unresponsive to traditional pain medications.
The findings? Two-thirds of patients in the study experienced an improvement in their pain symptom scores after using cannabis -- improving from an average of 83.3 to an average of 75 -- and a majority of those treated saw robust improvements in their quality of life. More interestingly, opioid consumption dropped 44% during the study, and quite a few patients completely ditched opioid use altogether.
Here's the official conclusion from the seven study authors:
The treatment of chronic pain with medicinal cannabis in this open-label, prospective cohort resulted in improved pain and functional outcomes, and significant reduction in opioid use. The results suggest long-term benefit of cannabis treatment in this group of patients, but the study's non-controlled nature should be considered when extrapolating the results.
As we see with most initial or small-pool studies, the findings won't be considered concrete until a larger or more controlled study is undertaken. However, the correlation between pain reduction and marijuana here is fairly consistent with other studies that have emerged over the last couple of years.