The study tracked 204 elderly patients who had been prescribed medical marijuana to deal with pain through New York state’s medical marijuana program, said Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of the Dent Neurologic Institute in Amherst, N.Y.
All were given products containing various ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), most often tinctures that were applied with an eyedropper under the tongue, Mechtler said.
“A majority of patients came back and said, ‘I’m better,'” Mechtler said. “The efficacy rates were quite high. Most patients felt their quality of life had improved.”
“Medical Marijuana, in my opinion, is an excellent choice for patients with chronic disease, including chronic pain,” said the senior researcher.
THC is the chemical in Marijuana that causes intoxication, while CBD has been associated with a number of potentially positive medical benefits.
Three-fourths of the people treated had been diagnosed with chronic pain, Mechtler said. Other conditions included cancer (6 percent), neuropathy (5 percent), multiple sclerosis (5 percent), epilepsy (3 percent) and Parkinson’s disease (2 percent).
After adjustments in dose, only 21 percent continued to have side effects. Ultimately, 3 percent of participants stopped taking medical marijuana due to side effects.