Topical Marijuana for Managing Pain, Can Reduce Opioid Use


Topical marijuana has the potential to improve pain management associated with wounds, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain Management and e-published ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Pain associated with integumentary wounds is highly prevalent yet it remains an area of significant unmet need within healthcare”, states the study’s abstract. “Currently, systemically administered opioids are the mainstay of treatment. However, recent publications are casting opioids in a negative light given their high side effect profile, inhibition of wound healing, and association with accidental overdose, incidents that are frequently fatal.” Thus, “novel analgesic strategies for wound-related pain need to be investigated”.

Researchers state that the ideal methods of pain relief for wound patients are “modalities that are topical, lack systemic side effects, non-invasive, self-administered, and display rapid onset of analgesia”, and; “Extracts derived from the cannabis plant have been applied to wounds for thousands of years”. The discovery of the “human endocannabinoid system and its dominant presence throughout the integumentary system provides a valid and logical scientific platform to consider the use of topical cannabinoids for wounds.”

In this study researchers “are reporting a prospective case series of 3 patients with Pyoderma Gangrenosum (PG) that were treated with Topical Medical Cannabis (TMC) compounded in non-genetically modified organic sunflower oil.”

They conclude that; “Clinically significant analgesia that was associated with reduced opioid utilization was noted in all 3 cases. TMC has the potential to improve pain management in patients suffering from wounds of all classes.”

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