people choose cannabis for chronic pain

Despite some recent headlines that cannabis pain relief is a placebo, a new study has found that 1/3 of people with chronic pain choose cannabis for relief.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, surveyed over 1,700 adults. Over half of them said cannabis allows them to decrease the use of prescription opioids and other pain medications.

Beyond pain relief, the adults surveyed also said cannabis helped them with mental health issues that usually accompany chronic pain.

One of the lead authors, Mark Bicket of the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, said that the survey results underscore the need for more research.

1/3 of People with Chronic Pain Choose Cannabis

1/3 of People with Chronic Pain Choose Cannabis

1/3 of people with chronic pain choosing cannabis over opioids shouldn’t come as a surprise. Anyone familiar with Neil Magnuson and the Cannabis Substitution Project knows that cannabis is a safe and nontoxic alternative.

A recent study indicated that using cannabis for pain leads to a greater risk of opioid dependency. But this JAMA study found that less than 1 percent of adults choosing cannabis for chronic pain end up using more opioids than average.

In fact, over half of the surveyed adults said they used fewer opioids and over-the-counter pain medications when they had access to cannabis.

This underscores the need to liberalize the cannabis economy. Even the poorest of the poor should be able to afford high-quality pain-relieving strains.

But as much as we like the results of this study, we have to be honest. This “1/3 of people with chronic pain choose cannabis” study doesn’t tell us anything objective about the world.

The Limitations of Observational Research 

1/3 of People with Chronic Pain Choose Cannabis

1/3 of people with chronic pain choose cannabis over opioids is excellent news. But is it true? This study was cross-sectional, a type of observational study used to observe and describe a population at a specific time.

This case involved collecting data from a sample of cannabis users with chronic pain. The researchers then analyzed the data to draw conclusions.

One advantage of cross-sectional studies is that researchers can conduct them relatively quickly and inexpensively.  However, as Thomas Sowell is famous for saying, there are no solutions, only trade-offs. While cross-sectional studies have their uses, they have many limitations.

  • Cannot establish cause-and-effect relationships. Because data is collected at a single point in time, it’s impossible to determine whether one variable is causing the other or if other factors are at play.
  • Subject to selection bias. If the sample of individuals being studied is not representative of the population as a whole, the results may not apply to the larger population.
  • Limited ability to study changes over time. Because researchers collect data only at a single point in time, it’s impossible to track changes in the studied variables or see how they may vary over time.
  • It may be affected by confounding variables. If researchers don’t control for other variables in the study, they may influence the results and make it difficult to interpret the findings accurately.
  • Limited to a single point in time. This means that trends or patterns that may emerge over time cannot be studied using cross-sectional data.
  • Less Reliability than other study designs. Because of the limitations listed above, cross-sectional studies are less reliable than different types of studies, such as randomized controlled trials.

1/3 of People with Chronic Pain Choose Cannabis

Hearing that 1/3 of People with chronic pain choose cannabis is uplifting news. Someday, hopefully, no one will have to take the toxic pills Big Pharma pushes onto the population. Until then, it’s nice to hear more people choosing cannabis over opioids.

That said, while a cross-sectional study helped identify this correlation, we should interpret it with caution due to the limitations of observational research.