Chronic pain top use for medical marijuana in U.S.

(Reuters Health) — Almost two-thirds of U.S. patients who use medical marijuana are using it for chronic pain, a new study suggests.

Thirty-three U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use and 10 have for recreational use. Patients receiving cannabis for medical use need a license that requires a doctor to certify they have a condition qualifying for such treatment.

Overall, 65 per cent of medical marijuana patients used it for chronic pain. Other common reasons were for multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy nausea, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The vast majority of conditions for which people use cannabis have substantial or conclusive evidence of cannabis being an effective treatment,” said lead study author Kevin Boehnke of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for them to determine how best to use it, he added.

That’s because the federal government still classifies marijuana as a substance with no medical use and a high potential for abuse, with no clinical guidelines for medical treatment, Boehnke said.

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