Medicinal Pot May Help Old-Age Ills, Study Says
Your grandparents’ chronic aches and pains might best be eased with a little weed, a new study suggests.
Not only did folks over 75 who took medical marijuana report less pain, their use of pot-based capsules, tinctures and e-cigarettes allowed a third of these patients to reduce their use of opioid painkillers, researchers found.
“Medical marijuana, in my opinion, is an excellent choice for patients with chronic disease, including chronic pain,” said senior researcher Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of the Dent Neurologic Institute in Amherst, N.Y.
The study tracked 204 elderly patients who had been prescribed medical marijuana to deal with pain through New York state’s medical marijuana program, Mechtler said.
All were given products containing various ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), most often tinctures that were applied with an eyedropper under the tongue, Mechtler said.
THC is the chemical in marijuana that causes intoxication, while CBD has been associated with a number of potentially positive medical benefits.
About 7 out of 10 patients experienced some symptom relief, researchers found.
“A majority of patients came back and said, ‘I’m better,'” Mechtler said. “The efficacy rates were quite high. Most patients felt their quality of life had improved.”
Three-fourths of the people treated had been diagnosed with chronic pain, Mechtler said. Other conditions included cancer (6 percent), neuropathy (5 percent), multiple sclerosis (5 percent), epilepsy (3 percent) and Parkinson’s disease (2 percent).
There were some downsides. Initially, 34 percent of patients experienced side effects from medical marijuana, most commonly sleepiness (13 percent), balance problems (7 percent) and gastrointestinal issues (7 percent).
After adjustments in dose, only 21 percent continued to have side effects. Ultimately, 3 percent of participants stopped taking medical marijuana due to side effects.
A 1-to-1 ratio of THC to CBD proved most effective while limiting side effects, Mechtler said.