A new study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health shows 42 percent of Minnesota’s patients taking medical cannabis for intractable pain reported pain reduction of 30 percent or more.
Minnesota’s Health Commissioner, Jan Malcolm, said the study helps officials understand the potential of medical cannabis for treating pain.
“We need additional and more rigorous study, but these results are clinically significant and promising for both pain treatment and reducing opioid dependence,” she said.
The study is based on experiences of the initial 2,245 people enrolled for intractable pain in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program from Aug. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. Of this group, 2,174 patients purchased medical cannabis within the study’s observation period and completed a required self-evaluation before each purchase, according to a release from the health department.
Intractable pain is a state of pain in which the cause cannot be removed and, according to generally accepted medical practice, the full range of pain management treatments appropriate for the patient have been used without adequate results or with intolerable side effects.
Patients completed the PEG (pain, enjoyment and general activity) screening tool as part of the self evaluation. On a scale of 0, or no pain, to 10, the highest pain level, patients rated their level of pain, how pain interfered with their enjoyment of life and how pain interfered with their general activity. Using the PEG scale data, 42 percent of the patients who scored moderate to high pain levels at the start of the measurement achieved a reduction in pain scores of 30 percent or more, and 22 percent of patients achieved and maintained a reduction of 30 percent or more over four months. The 30 percent reduction threshold is often