Proponents of medical marijuana have long touted the drug’s pain-killing properties. And while marijuana may provide a limited benefit for specific types of neuropathic pain, a preponderance of evidence suggests that it does not provide effective relief for more common types of chronic or acute pain. In fact, new research shows that people who used marijuana before surgery required much higher levels of anesthesia and post-op pain relief.

In a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, researchers examined the amount of anesthesia and opioids required by marijuana-using patients undergoing surgery for a broken leg. Compared to patients undergoing the same surgery who did not use marijuana, those who reported marijuana use prior to surgery needed 12.4 milliliters more anesthesia, 58% more opioids per day during recovery, and experienced greater levels of pain on a scale of 1 to 10.

Dr. Sharif Mohr of Drug Free America said, “Some irresponsible researchers have suggested that medical marijuana could be a potential therapy for opioid use disorder and potentially help to curb the opioid epidemic. But the results of this study suggest that marijuana and opioids use similar pathways in the brain. So, in theory, using marijuana could actually prime the brain for addiction in those who have never used opioids or it could trigger relapse in those recovering from OUD. This is exactly why we don’t want voters deciding what is and what isn’t medicine through the ballot box.”

(Source: Sandee LaMotte, CNN, October 5, 2020)