Researchers in Georgia Studying Cannabis and Chronic Pain

Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia are officially looking at how cannabis impacts chronic pain, and how it can be alleviated.

According to an article from the University of Georgia’s news site UGA Today, a team of researchers are seeking to determine how significantly cannabis can impact the lives of those with chronic pain. The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, and there are a number of scholars who are committed to the project.

“We are thrilled to get started on this work,” said Grace Bagwell Adams, assistant professor in the College of Public Health. “Much of the policy change has happened quickly in a landscape that is not well understood at the patient level. This work is going to contribute to our understanding about the intersectionality of medical cannabis policy and the behavior of chronic pain patients.”

David Bradford, George D. Busbee Chair in Public Policy in UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, added that this study will be an important milestone for cannabis research. “Researchers have been able to document reductions in aggregate prescription use, especially opioids, after states implement MCLs,” he said. “But there is almost no research on how a large representative sample of individual patients respond to medical cannabis access. Do we see lots of patients reducing opioid use, or just a few patients reducing by a lot? What happens to other kinds of health care use, like emergency room visits or physician office visits? We don’t know, and we’re excited to find out.”

This is one of the first studies that will take a close look at cannabis and how it can impact chronic pain. While cannabis has been used anecdotally for pain more than almost any other ailment, there isn’t very much research on how exactly it helps. This is a pivotal step in understanding cannabis and the major effects it can have on those who live with chronic pain. 

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