Medical marijuana reducing pain by critical 30 percent in 42 percent of Minnesota patients

A new study by the Minnesota Department of Health shows patients taking medical cannabis to treat intractable pain are seeing improvements. 

When Minnesota expanded the use of medical marijuana to treat intractable pain, MDH began a first-of-its-kind research study monitoring patients to see how effective it was.

Last fall, more than 2,000 people signed up to see if medical marijuana could help improve chronic pain. The study found that 42 percent of the patients who scored moderate to high pain levels at the beginning achieved a reduction in pain scores of 30 percent and more than half of the patients were able to maintain that level of pain reduction for over the four-month period.  

Researchers say the 30 percent reduction threshold is often used in pain studies to define clinically meaningful improvement.

There was also another encouraging finding: of the 353 patients who had been taking opioid medications when they started using medical cannabis, 63 percent stopped taking narcotic painkillers after six months.