Case Series: Topical Cannabis Preparations Associated With Reduced Opioid Use

CANADA: The administration of whole-plant topical cannabis extracts is associated with reduced pain and opioid use in patients suffering from leg and ankle ulcers due to Pyoderma Gangrenosum (PG), according to a series of case reports published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pain Symptom Management.

Researchers from the University of Toronto evaluated the impact of topically applied cannabis extracts on skin ulcer wounds in three separate patients. Extracts contained nearly equal percentages of THC and CBD.

Investigators reported clinically significant analgesia and reduced opioid utilization in all three subjects.

“This is the first case series to demonstrate the potential of TMC (topical medical cannabis) to provide effective analgesia that was opioid sparing in the setting of PG,” authors concluded. “TMC has the potential to improve pain management in patients suffering from wounds of all classes.”

Medical Cannabis and Reduced Prescription Use

NEW MEXICO: In a soon-to-be published article in the *Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, *University of New Mexico researchers, in

collaboration with Industrial Rehabilitation Clinics of Albuquerque, followed patients who enrolled voluntarily in the New Mexico state medical cannabis program and found that they significantly reduced their utilization of scheduled prescription medications in the months following enrollment. All prescriptions for scheduled medications must be reported to the New Mexico Prescription Monitoring Program with opiates and benzodiazepines being the two most common. Based on these prescription records, patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program reduced the monthly average number of prescriptions, types of prescriptions (drug classes), number of prescribers, and number of related pharmacy visits. 71% of medical cannabis program enrollees either ceased or reduced their use of scheduled prescriptions within 6 months of enrolling

While other studies on medical cannabis have looked at similar state-level outcomes, this study is the first to take the approach of examining individual patients throughout their enrollment in the medical cannabis program and comparing those patients to a comparison group of similar patients who did not enroll in the medical cannabis program.

The findings of this study indicate that once a patient enrolls in the medical cannabis program there is an increased likelihood that the patient will decrease their usage of scheduled medications. These medications include many drugs of abuse such as opiates, benzodiazepines, and sleeping medications. Opiates in particular are in the public discourse because of the danger of overdose, addiction and death.

Infographic: Cannabis Vs. Opioids

Cannabis has been used to treat ailments since 4000 BC. Despite its abilities to offer relief for those in pain, this drug became demonized and criminalized beginning in the early 20th century.

Conversely, in the 1990s, opioid prescriptions took off, leading to an epidemic of dependency and overdoses. Until this time, chronic pain was severely untreated.

Cannabis has been proven to alleviate chronic pain without the health risks posed by opioids. Our team at Apollo Cannabis Clinic created the below infographic, “Cannabis Vs. Opioids,” to offer an in-depth comparison between these two drugs – and ultimately offer an alternative to opioids.

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