Experience of adjunctive cannabis use for chronic non-cancer pain: Findings from the Pain and Opioids IN Treatment (POINT) study; •There is increasing debate about the use of cannabis for medical purposes, including chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) •In 1,514 people prescribed opioids for CNCP, 16% had used cannabis for pain. •A quarter reported that if they had access to cannabis, they would use it for pain relief. •Those using cannabis for pain were younger, with greater pain severity and interference. •They had been prescribed opioids for longer and were on higher opioid doses.
Study co-author Nicholas Lintzeris, a medical doctor specialising in addiction and Associate Professor of Addiction Medicine at the University of Sydney, said there had been a huge rise in the number of Australians seeking treatment for addiction to pain medications. This was linked to a lack of multi-disciplinary treatment such as physiotherapy and massage, leaving doctors with little choice but to prescribe heavy-duty painkillers, or even other drugs for which there was little evidence of efficacy, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics. "Interestingly, in the US (as there has been more use of medicinal cannabis there), we are starting to see some large epidemiological studies that indicate cannabis use might provide options other than simply an ever-escalating opioid dose (when treatment isn't working)," he said.
The definition focuses on the symptoms that may be relieved through the use of cannabis and connects those symptoms to various illnesses or conditions as follows: • symptoms associated with, or with treatment for, one or more of the following: • an illness or condition that is likely to result in death, • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), • severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, • pain associated with cancer, • neuropathic pain, • a symptom associated with, or with treatment for, a medical condition declared by the regulations to be a symptom that may be relieved by the use of cannabis, • a symptom associated with, or with treatment for, a medical condition certified by the patient’s medical practitioner as a symptom suffered by the patient that may be relieved by the use of cannabis.