Cannabis for Chronic Pain Linked to Increased Risk of Arrhythmia

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Anders Holt
Department of Cardiology
Copenhagen University Hospital—Herlev and Gentofte
Gentofte Hospitalsve
Hellerup, Denmark
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
School of Population Health, University of Aucklan
Auckland, New Zealand

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


cannabis-marijuana

Response: The motivation for this study was the fact that medical cannabis is being made available as medical treatment for chronic pain in an increasing number of countries worldwide. Meanwhile, robust evidence on possible cardiovascular side-effects is very scarce. This could be worrisome since recreational cannabis previously have been associated with an elevated risk of arrhythmia and acute coronary syndromes.

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Rutgers Study Finds Modest Decrease in Non-Prescription Opioid Use with Cannabis Legalization, But Concentrated in People Addicted to Cannabis

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Hillary Samples, PhD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Health Systems and Policy
Rutgers School of Public Health
Core Faculty
Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science

Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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

Response: Early studies suggesting that cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid-related harms received considerable media attention. At the time, overdose deaths were driven by prescription opioids, and medical cannabis was often framed as a policy approach to address the opioid epidemic. However, as research in this area grew, the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and opioid-related harms became less clear. Many studies of cannabis legalization were unable to examine opioid use by individual people, and individual-level studies outside the legal context showed links between cannabis use and higher risk of opioid-related harms. Thus, our goal was to build evidence of the relationship between medical cannabis legalization and individual-level opioid use.

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WashU Study Surveys Cannabis Use for Sleep

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The Health & Cognition (THC) Lab
Department of Psychology
Washington State University

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

Response: We know that one of the top 5 reasons cannabis users report using cannabis is for sleep disturbances, but we don’t know very much about the types of products they prefer to use for sleep or their perceptions of its effects and side effects relative to more conventional sleep aids (e.g., benzodiazepines, antihistamines, melatonin).

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CAMH Study Finds Potential Risks to Baby from Cannabis Exposure During Pregnancy

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Maryam Sorkhou
PhD student at the Institute of Medical Sciences
University of Toronto

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

Response: While studies on animals strongly suggest that exposure to cannabis during pregnancy can affect brain development, the impact of using cannabis during pregnancy in humans is not yet clear. Some studies suggest potential negative effects, while others find no impairments.

In light of increasing trends towards legalization and potentially decreased perceptions about the risks of cannabis, our meta-analysis of 57 studies aimed to fill this gap by exploring the associations between prenatal cannabis use and birth and childhood outcomes.

Cannabis-Related Hospitalizations Following Legalization in Canada

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC
Canada Research Chair, Social Accountability, University of Ottawa
Investigator, Bruyère Research Institute 
Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Lecturer, School of Epidemiology and Public Health
Adjunct Scientist, ICES
University of Ottawa

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

Response: Canada legalized recreational, or non-medical, cannabis in October 2018. Legalization in Canada took a phased approach initially, only the sale of flower-based cannabis products and oils was permitted and there were very few legal cannabis stores and legal sales. Starting in early 2020, Canada allowed the sale of expanded products (e.g. cannabis edibles, vape pens, concentrates), and the number of retail stores began expanding. In this study, we took advantage of this evolution of the legal cannabis market to understand how different phases of legalization were associated with hospitalizations due to cannabis.  

Canadian Study Finds Cannabis Use Disorder Associated with Higher Risk of Heart Disease

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Anees Bahji, BSc(H), MD, CISAM, CCSAM, DABPN, FRCPC (pronouns: he/him/his)
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary
Ph.D. Student, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
Addiction, Concurrent Disorder, and General Psychiatry
Opioid Dependency Program, Sheldon M. Chumir Centre
Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine Service, Calgary
Adult Addiction Centre, 6th Floor, Foothills Medical Centre

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

Response: The background for this study is rooted in the need to understand the potential health implications of cannabis use disorder (CUD), especially in relation to cardiovascular health.

Cannabis has become increasingly popular for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and it is essential to assess its impact on various health outcomes.

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Study Assesses Quality of Life After Cannabis Prescribed for Chronic Pain and Other Health Symptoms

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Margaret-Ann Tait | PhD candidate
Project Manager, The QUEST Initiative
Research Manager, Faculty of Medicine and Health
Sydney Nursing School, Cancer Care Research Unit
University of Sydney

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

Response: In 2016 Australia passed legislation that allows cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Since then, an estimated 800,000 patients have received medicinal cannabis prescriptions. We wanted to know if patients with chronic health conditions in Australia are reporting their health outcomes differently after being prescribed medicinal cannabis. We used validated questionnaires to assess their health-related quality of life, levels of fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression before starting therapy and then at regular intervals for three months after. 

We had 2327 patients participating from across Australia aged between 18 and 97 (the average age was 51), and nearly two thirds were female. Half of our participants were prescribed medicinal cannabis for more than one condition, with chronic pain conditions reported more frequently, followed by insomnia, anxiety, and mixed anxiety & depression.

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Cannabis Use May Expose Users to Lead and Cadmium

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Tiffany R. Sanchez, PhD (she/her)
Assistant Professor
Environmental Health Sciences 
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

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

Response: We’ve known that the cannabis plant is good at accumulating metals, like lead and cadmium, and long-term exposure to these metals carry important health risks. What was unclear before our study was whether or not people who use cannabis actually have higher metal levels in their body compared to non-users.

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Cannabis Smoke Exposure is Not Risk Free

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Beth Cohen, MD MAS
Professor of Medicine, UCSF
Co-Director, PRIME Internal Medicine Residency Program
Staff Physician, San Francisco VA Medical Center

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

Response: Though rates of tobacco use are declining, rates of cannabis use are increasing as it becomes more widely legal and available. Though there is not as much research on the long-term health effects of cannabis, cannabis and tobacco smoke contain many of the same carcinogens and toxins and both have particulate matter than is harmful when inhaled.

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Stopping Pot May Reverse Some Loss of Male Fertility

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Jamie Lo, M.D., M.C.R.
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
OHSU School of Medicine
Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences
Adjunct Associate Professor of Urology, School of Medicine
Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC)

Dr. Jamie Lo

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

Response: Cannabis use and potency are rising, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially amongst reproductive age males in the United States. There is emerging literature suggesting it may impact male fertility, but it is hard to study in humans for many reasons, including often individuals using cannabis are also using other substances and there is no ability to test how much or often cannabis was used. As such, we wanted to use a translational animal model, the non-human primate, that is relevant to humans to study the direct effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, main component of cannabis) only on male fertility and to determine whether there is a benefit to abstinence from use.