There is very little actual scientific evidence to suggest that marijuana helps with pain or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to two new review studies published in the Annals of Medicine. Yet these two problems are among the most common reasons given as to why people use medical marijuana in the U.S. today.
On the other hand, a wealth of evidence shows the harms of marijuana. Indeed, study after study demonstrates the short- and long-term harms to emotional and mental health, cognitive function, heart, lungs, and who knows what else as more research is done. Marijuana also poses dangers to the general public with the fatal results of driving while intoxicated.
The other shoe drops
Today, one in 10 adults uses marijuana. It’s legal for medical use in 28 states and Washington, D.C. (Although it remains illegal under federal law.) And up to 80 percent of people who seek medical marijuana do so for pain management.
So, in the new review, researchers wanted to look at all the existing data to see if marijuana really does help with pain. They examined evidence from 27 previously published studies. Turns out, the data was too weak to determine whether marijuana helps most types of common pain.
For example, the researchers found only “low-quality” evidence that marijuana helped nerve pain.
And when it came to cancer pain, a major reason why states legalized medical marijuana, the researchers found “insufficient evidence” that the drug provided any relief.
Another recent survey found that one-quarter of cancer patients use medical marijuana. And it’s a concept that has received positive attention from the media and entertainment industry. For instance, Susan Sarandon’s character smoked it in the movie Stepmom to get relief from cancer pain. But that’s Hollywood…and the real science shows it simply doesn’t help.
Likewise, there was “insufficient evidence” marijuana could help relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory abdominal conditions.
The second review looked at five previously published studies on marijuana use and PTSD. Again, they found insufficient data to determine whether or not it helped relieve PTSD symptoms.
Here’s what the researchers did find…
Strong evidence linking marijuana to an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, cognitive impairment, and psychotic episodes in the general population as well as those who used it for pain or PTSD.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs conducted the study. As I’ve said before, the VA has a vested interest in finding safe, effective ways to help veterans deal with pain and PTSD. But based on the new analyses, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, stated, “until the time that federal law changes, we are not able to prescribe medical marijuana…” Plus, some evidence suggests that marijuana use for mental health problems can contribute to suicide among veterans.
Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in all of Germany. Nevertheless, many German doctors still hesitate to prescribe it because, as in the U.S., there aren’t well-defined medical guidelines for it.
Opt for safe and effective alternatives
Some marijuana proponents say cannabis is a viable alternative to opioids, given the current crisis. But, as I’ve reported before, many herbs effectively and safely relieve pain — not just cannabis. You can also try many effective pain management techniques such as acupuncture.
I just published an entire book on the topic called Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain, which also goes into depth on which holistic treatment plans will work best for you based on your emotional type and specific paint condition.
“The Effects of Cannabis Among Adults With Chronic Pain and an Overview of General Harms: A Systematic Review,” Annals of Internal Medicine (www.annals.org) 8/14/2017