Patients Report Substituting Cannabis for Pain Relief Medications

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Mark Christopher Bicket, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor,Department of Anesthesiology
Assistant Professor,Health Management and Policy
School of Public Health
University of MichiganAnn Arbor, MI 48109

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Most states have laws that allow people with chronic pain to use cannabis as a treatment. But evidence about whether medical cannabis use lowers the use of other treatments for chronic pain is not clear. 
  • We conducted a rigorous survey of adults living in the 36 states and D.C. in the spring of 2022.
  • Among the 1,661 adults who had chronic pain, we asked about their use of cannabis, prescription opioids, and non-opioid treatments for chronic pain. 
  • Cannabis use for chronic pain was common, reported in roughly 3 in 10 people at any time and 1 in 4 in the past year.
  • In contrast, a minority said cannabis use decreased their use of non-pharmacologic treatments like physical therapy or meditation, and some reported their use increased.