As with other conditions, there is a countless amount of anecdotal research that has proven the pain relieving efficacy of cannabis – going back to the beginning of documented cannabis use over 5,000 years ago, pain relief has been a consistent physiological effect seen from cannabis use. The experience of the leading medical experts has revealed that medical cannabis can be used to safely and effectively treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including chronic post-operative pain, and it is often a successful therapy option when nothing else works. Where chronic post-operative pain is often resistant to pharmaceutical therapies, even very low doses of medical cannabis have shown to effectively reduce symptoms, and experts report that the benefits of medical cannabis far outweigh the risks.
Dr. Anita Holdcroft, a lead researcher from Imperial College London, stated, “[p]ain after surgery continues to be a problem because so many of the commonly used drugs are either ineffective or have too many side effects. These results show that cannabinoids are effective.”
A study released in 2011 from the scientific journal for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that the combination of cannabis with opiates may have a synergistic effect. When patients received regular doses of cannabis along with their twice-daily doses of prescribed opioids, on average participants reported a 27 percent greater decrease in pain.
In Australia in 2014, chronic pain patients reported supplementing their pharmaceutical treatment regimens with the use of medical cannabis, noting that there was a significant difference in efficacy between using only the opioids and combining the medical cannabis with the opioids. Chronic pain patients who participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study revealed that small doses of vaporized medical cannabis provided at least the equivalent efficacy in pain reduction as traditional neuropathic pain medication, but without significant impact on daily functioning.