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Study: Minnesota Patients Say Medical Marijuana Reduces Pain

March 1, 2018
(galinast/iStock)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota health officials say many medical marijuana users report significant reductions in pain.

More than 60 percent of the more than 2,200 patients surveyed by the state report benefits from using marijuana in inhaled or pill forms during the first five months after Minnesota approved cannabis to treat pain. The survey also found that 43 percent of doctors observed medical marijuana having a positive effect on patients.

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The report surveyed patients who used cannabis in 2016 for the first time to treat chronic pain.

“It’s heartening to see that this fairly large proportion achieved that degree of reduction in their pain assessment score,” said Dr. Tom Arneson, research manager for the office of medical cannabis.

More than 350 patients involved in the study initially reported using opioid painkillers. Nearly 63 percent reported reduced or eliminated opioid usage after six months of using medical cannabis.

There were no reports of cannabis use that was life-threatening or required hospitalization.

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Officials believe the results are encouraging, but say more research is necessary. A controlled study that includes giving some participants a placebo is needed, Arneson said.

“We need more research into the potential value of medical cannabis in pain management, especially as our communities grapple with the harmful impacts of opioids and other medications now in use for that purpose,” Arneson said.

About 10 percent of patients reported no benefit, while as much as 40 percent experienced mild side effects such as fogginess or fatigue. At least one patient found that the positive effects of cannabis were only temporary.

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  • phil ford

    A promising study. Now we need more studies, without the ‘sword’ of Federal prosecution hanging over researchers heads!

  • Samantha Cook

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    • Zoey Thompson

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  • Sandra
  • kelly johnson

    There is actually an inaccuracy in this article when it says ‘There were no reports of cannabis use that was life-threatening or required hospitalization.’.

    Actually there were 2. I was hospitalized several times in October 2017 during a 2 week period where I suffered from cannabis hyperemesis syndrome after 1 month of use of the Minnesota Medical Solutions Crimson vape product. When I reported it to the Minnesota Department of Health (who made note of my report and requested I reported it to Minnesota Medical Solutions as well) they told me I was the second person to report that reaction .

    I am fully in support of medical marijuana but something is wrong with the medical ‘cannabis’ in Minnesota. When you ban leaf and have only formulations of thc:cbd then you’ve taken a lot of the helpful parts out and turned it into a similar but different product that is NOT close enough to cannabis to be considered helpful or safe.