Whether you call the medicines found at Utah pharmacies Medical Cannabis or Medical Marijuana, a recently published study out of Israel supports using medical marijuana for back pain treatment, specifically chronic lower back pain. The study is just the latest in a steady stream of research showing that cannabis can be used effectively as a medicine.
Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints heard by doctors around the world. According to a Jerusalem Post story discussing the Israeli study, 80% of people worldwide experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. For many patients, the pain is chronic.
That matters to us because chronic and acute pain are both on Utah’s qualifying conditions list for Medical Cannabis. Chronic lower back pain would certainly fit the bill. If you live in Utah and have been frustrated in your efforts to find relief from chronic lower back pain, perhaps it’s time to see a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) and have a Medical Cannabis discussion.
The study in question was definitely a small-scale study. It enrolled just 24 participants – 17 men and seven women. All participants suffered from either disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Researchers decided to test two delivery methods to learn whether they influence efficacy.
Patients were first given a Medical Cannabis tincture. If you are not familiar with tinctures, they are concentrated oils that are placed under the tongue for sublingual delivery. The second delivery method was smoking cannabis flower.
The sublingual treatment was provided to patients for 10 months. Patients then took a month off before beginning the inhalation treatment for 12 months. Interestingly enough, patients didn’t report any significant relief with the tincture. But after 10 months of smoking cannabis, 80% reported significant pain relief.
The extremely small-scale nature of the Israeli study makes it difficult to draw concrete conclusions from it. But we do have relevant data from other sources, showing similar relief.
For example, the Jerusalem Post also mentioned a North American survey involving 1,000 adults who used cannabis. Some 58% reported consuming marijuana for back pain relief and treatment. Among them:
The most important statistic from the North American survey is the 58% of respondents who said they use cannabis do so to relieve back pain. They would not be using it if it didn’t work.
We encourage anyone suffering from chronic pain to talk with a medical provider about the possibility of using Medical Cannabis. Here in Utah, there are two different types of providers capable of helping patients obtain their Medical Cannabis cards.
We have already mentioned QMPs. These are providers who have undergone the necessary training to be certified by the state. They can recommend Medical Cannabis to hundreds of patients. The other provider is the Limited Medical Provider (LMP).
An LMP can be any doctor, advanced practice nurse, or orthopedist with prescribing authority in the state. LMPs can recommend Medical Cannabis to up to 15 patients. Your doctor can act as your LMP as long as they are willing and has not already reached the 15-patient limit.
As always, remember that Utah’s Medical Cannabis law is very strict. You must have a Medical Cannabis card to consume in the state, and all cannabis you do consume must be bought from a Utah Medical Cannabis Pharmacy. Note that smoking is prohibited here. You will have to try other delivery methods.