Study Suggests Marijuana May Exacerbate Certain Types of Pain

New research is casting some doubt on marijuana’s efficacy in controlling all types of pain. While the benefits of cannabis for chronic pain are increasingly well documented, new research out of the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora suggests it could make some acute pain worse.

The study specifically looked at cannabis use in patients who had undergone surgery for a broken leg. The patients who reported using pot had higher pain levels than those who did not. They required 58% more opioids per day and 12.4 milliliters of additional anesthesia during surgery compared to non-users.

“This study shows that it is important for patients to tell their physician anesthesiologist if they have used cannabis products prior to surgery to ensure they receive the best anesthesia and pain control possible, including the use of non-opioid alternatives," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ian Holmen.

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