[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]A[/dropcap] new study has found cannabis flower and other products with high THC content tend to be one of the most effective mid-level analgesic treatments for pain. Researchers at the University of New Mexico have published strong evidence that cannabis can alleviate pain, with the average consumer reporting a 3-point drop in pain on a 0-10 point scale after consuming cannabis.
Researchers used data from Releaf App, a mobile program developed by three of the study’s authors that aims to educate consumers and help them track their experiences. Users can monitor their symptoms before, during and after consumption to better understand how different strains or ways of consumption affect them. Using the app, researchers analyzed 20,513 cannabis sessions recorded by 2,987 people between June 2016 and October 2018. Programs like the Releaf App are used to overcome limitations on cannabis research set by the government due to cannabis’ Schedule 1 status.
“Even just rescheduling cannabis just from Schedule I to Schedule II, i.e., classifying it with fentanyl, oxycodone and cocaine rather than heroin and ecstasy, could dramatically improve our ability to conduct research and only would require that the DEA recognizes that accepted medical uses for cannabis exist,” said study co-author Sarah Stith.
Researchers found that sessions involving cannabis flower offered more pain relief than other cannabis products, such as edibles, concentrates and tinctures. Concentrates were found to have the most negative side effects reported, but researchers believe it could be the addition of solvents and additives as well as the removal of terpenes and flavonoids. Researchers in Ontario recently discovered a way to make pain relievers using certain flavonoids, which could explain why concentrates have less of a pain relieving effect.
Earlier this year, New Mexico decriminalized cannabis and decreased the punishment for possessing paraphernalia as well. The state also recently expanded its medical cannabis program and added more qualifying conditions that can be treated with cannabis.