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Study Finds Medical Marijuana Could Help Patients Reduce Pain with Opiates

Posted Dec 06 2011 5:31pm

A UCSF study suggests patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids – the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana – to an opiates-only treatment. The findings, from a small-scale study, also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages.

More than 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, according to the National Centers for Health Statistics.

A vaporizer such as this one delivers the same amount of cannabis as if a patient smokes a marijuana cigarette.
“Pain is a big problem in America and chronic pain is a reason many people utilize the health care system,” said the paper’s lead author, Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine at UCSF and chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH). “And chronic pain is, unfortunately, one of the problems we’re least capable of managing effectively.”

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