Here’s why adults in pain consume more cannabis
A new study has revealed that non-medical use of cannabis including frequent or problematic use is significantly more common in adults with pain than on those without pain. The study done by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Since 1996, about thirty-four states have passed medical marijuana laws and eleven states have legalised recreational use of cannabis. Research indicated that heavy use of cannabis increases the risk of vehicle accidents, respiratory and psychiatric symptoms, and cannabis use disorder. Deborah Hasin, who led the study said: “Despite this evidence, many people view cannabis use as harmless, and non-medical use of cannabis on a daily or near-daily basis has increased. In our study, we hoped to identify factors such as pain, that may increase the risk of cannabis use disorder.”
Hasin with his colleagues analyzed the data on marijuana use from the National Epidemiologic Surveys on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. The researchers compared non-medical cannabis use patterns in adults with and without pain, approximately 20 per cent of participants in both surveys had moderate to severe pain.
Overall, non-medical marijuana use increased from about 4 per cent in 2002 to 9.5 per cent in 2013. In addition, in the most recent survey, those with pain were significantly more likely to engage in frequent non-medical cannabis use than those without pain (5.0pc vs. 3.5pc). The risk of cannabis use disorder was also significantly higher in those with pain (4.2pc vs. 2.7pc).
Hasin further mentioned that, although meta-analyses of cannabis for treating pain show only mixed efficacy, particularly for plant marijuana, 66 per cent of adults now view marijuana as beneficial for pain management. Given that about 20 per cent of the adult population experienced moderate to severe pain, this puts a large group of U.S. adults at risk for frequent non-medical use and cannabis use disorder.
In media reporting, a great balance is needed on marijuana issues, including messages that convey credible information about the nature and magnitude of health risks from non-medical cannabis use, including among the large group of US adults with pain. “Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals treating patients with pain should monitor their patients for signs and symptoms of a cannabis use disorder,” Hasin added.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)