A New Israeli Study
Tikun Olam clinics are the largest Israeli suppliers of medical marijuana. They partnered with Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to study the effects of marijuana use on elderly patients.
Participants in the study predominantly use cannabis to treat cancer or severe pain issues. They also all consumed prescribed doses of only strains provided and developed by Tikun Olam. After closely studying 2,736 geriatric medical marijuana users between January 2015 and October 2017, researchers finally had the data they needed.
The Israeli researchers published their findings in early February 2018 in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. They found that 93.7% of participants in the study reported pain was reduced by 50% thanks to marijuana use. Many participants also reduced or even eliminated their dependence on prescription opioids.
Cannabis Medical Efficacy Proven
After six months of treatment, the israeli patients in the study reported that their overall pain level was reduced by half. But marijuana treatments are not without side effects. Luckily for those involved, the only real side effects researchers found were dizziness and dry mouth.
Yet the side effects were considered minor and never progressed beyond simple discomfort. The researchers were happy to find that patient dependence on pain medication including opioids also decreased while consuming cannabis. Since seniors make up a significant portion of the opioid using population, cannabis seems an ideal tool to battle the opioid epidemic.
Many pharmaceuticals that people take have a long list of terrible side effects. Some antidepressants cause depression and thoughts of suicide. Many pain treatments like Percocet and Oxycodone are also dangerously addictive. Marijuana on the other hand, has proven to have no dangerous side effects, is non-addictive, is impossible to overdose on and helps recovering opioid addicts.
Still More Research Needed
Cannabis definitely seems like the safer alternative than opioids. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with the idea of cannabis. People in positions of power like Attorney General Jeff Sessions complain about the opioid epidemic sweeping across America yet seem to take every action possible to prevent its resolution.
Luckily for medical patients everywhere, research is still underway. Israeli organizations like Tikun Olam, Soroka University Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem produce adds to the growing body of evidence proving cannabis is a miraculous plant. But we need more research to prove all the benefits of marijuana.
The researchers of this study note in their paper a need for more evidence-based research. Especially research data from double-blind, randomized controlled trials. They also note that the entire geriatric population stands to benefit the most from these studies since they consume the majority of opioid-based pain killers. Unfortunately, seniors also tend to be the most resistant to the idea of medical marijuana.