Inhaled Cannabis “Safe And Effective” For Treating Lower Back Pain According To New Study
Since at least 1990, and likely prior, lower back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, roughly 7.5% of the world’s population experiences some level of lower back pain.
The study defined lower back pain as, “pain in the area on the posterior aspect of the body from the lower margin of the twelfth ribs to the lower gluteal folds with or without pain referred into one or both lower limbs that lasts for at least one day.”
Lower back pain can be caused by a number of factors, including work-related injuries. For some suffering patients, lower back pain comes and goes. However, for many others, the lower back pain is chronic in nature and continues for weeks or months on end. In severe cases, the pain never goes away at all.
A growing number of patients suffering from chronic lower back pain are turning to cannabis for relief, including via inhaled consumption methods. According to a new study out of Israel, inhaled cannabis is safe and effective in those instances. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:
Haifa, Israel: The inhalation of THC-dominant cannabis flower long-term safely mitigates symptoms of chronic lower back pain in a manner that is more effective than the use of CBD-dominant extracts, according to observational trial data published in the Israeli journal Rambam Maimonides.
Israeli researchers assessed the safety and efficacy of THC-dominant flowers and CBD-dominant sublingual extracts in a cohort of patients with low back pain. Study participants engaged in the daily use of extracts for one year, followed by the use of cannabis flower in year two.
Researchers reported, “THC-rich smoked cannabis inflorescence was more effective than CBD-rich cannabis-extracts for inducing symptom relief in LBP [lower back pain],” as assessed on a visual analogue scale and by a disability index. Additionally, patients’ use of analgesic medicines fell significantly during year two of the trial. No serious adverse events were reported.
Authors concluded: “Our findings indicate that inhaled THC-rich therapy is more effective than CBD-rich sublingual extract therapy for treating low back pain and that cannabis therapy is safe and effective for chronic low back pain.”
An estimated 111,000 Israelis are currently licensed to use medical cannabis products. More than half of those patients utilize cannabis to treat chronic pain conditions.
Several prior studies have similarly demonstrated that cannabis use is associated with reduced opioid consumption in patients with chronic back pain.
Full text of the study, “Comparing sublingual and inhaled cannabis therapies for low back pain: An observational open-label study,” appears in Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal. Additional information on the use of cannabis for chronic pain is available from NORML.