Marijuana is just as effective at treating symptoms of neuropathy as opioids are, according to the results of a new survey. And what’s more, the majority of patients with the often-painful condition say they’re using cannabis with more than 20 percent THC, raising questions about the quality of prior studies that relied on government-grown marijuana that is generally lower in potency.
The company NuggMD, which connects patients to doctors for medical cannabis recommendations, surveyed 603 patients who said neuropathy was either their primary or secondary reason for using marijuana. Because one of the most common symptoms is neuropathy is pain, patients first rated their pain levels on a scale of 1–10, both before and after using cannabis as a treatment.
The results, which were shared exclusively with Marijuana Moment, showed clear signs of relief. “The average pain level before cannabis use was 7.64, while the average pain level after cannabis use was 3.44,” the study found. That amounts to “an average pain relief level of 4.2 out of 10 for participants.”
That’s roughly the same, or an even higher, level of relief than is typically seen from conventional treatments such as prescription opioids, according to prior research. A 2017 randomized trial, for example, found that neuropathy patients rated the pain reliving effects of oxycodone and acetaminophen at 4.4, ibuprofen and acetaminophen at 4.3, codeine and acetaminophen at 3.9 and hydrocodone and acetaminophen at 3.5.
Yet, as the new survey points out, just ten states explicitly list neuropathy as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
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