Lower Back Pain



Medical marijuana found effective in reducing chronic lower-back pain – Israeli study

Four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors.

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH Published: OCTOBER 31, 2022 18:21
Updated: OCTOBER 31, 2022 20:28

Israeli researchers have found that medical cannabis can significantly ease lower-back pain, but that not all types of marijuana do the job.

Four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors. It usually gets better within a few weeks but may become chronic, with pain ranging from mild to severe, making it difficult or impossible to walk, work, sleep or carry out routine activities.

People over the age of 30 – especially those who are overweight or have jobs with a lot of lifting and bending, diseases like osteoarthritis or scoliosis and poor posture – are at high risk for such pain. Treatments include cortisone injections, manipulation, physical therapy and even surgery.

Dr. Dror Robinson and Dr. Mustafa Yassin of the Orthopedics Department of Hasharon Hospital of the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, and Sivan Ritter of the University of Haifa, published their new study in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal published online by the Rambam Health Care Campus under the title “Comparing Sublingual and Inhaled Cannabis Therapies for Low Back Pain: An Observational Open-Label Study.”

Driven by public demand, medical cannabis is growing as a common treatment in medicine, especially for pain relief, despite the lack of established scientific basis, they wrote.

Two types of cannabis treatment were given to chronic low-back-pain patients. The first was cannabidiol (CBD)-rich sublingual (under the tongue) extract treatment over a period of 10 months.

After a month of no treatment, the same group received Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich whole dried cannabis flowers that were smoked in the form of cannabis cigarettes for 12 months. Oral consumption in the form of edibles such as cookies is reserved for children and was not relevant to this group of adult patients.

The number of participants was small – 24 people, seven women and 17 men, whose MRI or CT scans of the spine showed disc herniation or spinal stenosis – but the results were convincing. The most commonly reported initial side effects were nausea, sore throat, drowsiness, dizziness and fatigue, all of which were transient and disappeared after dose tolerance was achieved. Most of these adverse effects were noted in female patients.

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