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Canna Clinical Trials

Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population

Opioid-related mortality increased by 15.6% from 2014 to 2015 and increased almost 320% between 2000 and 2015. Recent research finds that the use of all pain medications (opioid and nonopioid collectively) decreases in Medicare Part D and Medicaid populations when states approve medical cannabis laws (MCLs). The association between MCLs and opioid prescriptions is not well understood. Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population. This finding was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.

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Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

Opioid-related mortality increased by 15.6% from 2014 to 2015 and increased almost 320% between 2000 and 2015. Recent research finds that the use of all pain medications (opioid and nonopioid collectively) decreases in Medicare Part D and Medicaid populations when states approve medical cannabis laws (MCLs). The association between MCLs and opioid prescriptions is not well understood.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the association between prescribing patterns for opioids in Medicare Part D and the implementation of state MCLs.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Longitudinal analysis of the daily doses of opioids filled in Medicare Part D for all opioids as a group and for categories of opioids by state and state-level MCLs from 2010 through 2015. Separate models were estimated first for whether the state had implemented any MCL and second for whether a state had implemented either a dispensary-based or a home cultivation only-based MCL.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The primary outcome measure was the total number of daily opioid doses prescribed (in millions) in each US state for all opioids. The secondary analysis examined the association between MCLs separately by opioid class.

RESULTS:

From 2010 to 2015 there were 23.08 million daily doses of any opioid dispensed per year in the average state under Medicare Part D. Multiple regression analysis results found that patients filled fewer daily doses of any opioid in states with an MCL. The associations between MCLs and any opioid prescribing were statistically significant when we took the type of MCL into account: states with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses filled (95% CI, -6.289 to -1.194); states with home cultivation only MCLs saw 1.792 million fewer filled daily doses (95% CI, -3.532 to -0.052). Results varied by type of opioid, with statistically significant estimated negative associations observed for hydrocodone and morphine. Hydrocodone use decreased by 2.320 million daily doses (or 17.4%) filled with dispensary-based MCLs (95% CI, -3.782 to -0.859; P = .002) and decreased by 1.256 million daily doses (or 9.4%) filled with home-cultivation-only-based MCLs (95% CI, -2.319 to -0.193; P = .02). Morphine use decreased by 0.361 million daily doses (or 20.7%) filled with dispensary-based MCLs (95% CI, -0.718 to -0.005; P = .047).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population. This finding was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

 

 

PMID: 29610897 PMCID: PMC6145794 DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0266

 

Source:Pubmed

 

Bradford AC1Bradford WD1Abraham A1Bagwell Adams G2.

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Cancer

A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management

Insufficient management of cancer-associated chronic and neuropathic pain adversely affects patient quality of life.

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Abstract

Insufficient management of cancer-associated chronic and neuropathic pain adversely affects patient quality of life. Patients who do not respond well to opioid analgesics, or have severe side effects from the use of traditional analgesics are in need of alternative therapeutic op-tions. Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis has potential to effectively manage pain in this patient population. This review presents a selection of representative clinical studies, from small pilot studies conducted in 1975, to double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in 2014 that evaluated the efficacy of cannabinoid-based therapies containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for reducing cancer-associated pain.

A review of literature published on Medline between 1975 and 2017 identified five clinical studies that evaluated the effect of THC or CBD on controlling cancer pain, which have been reviewed and summarised. Five studies that evaluated THC oil capsules, THC:CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols), or THC oromucosal sprays found some evidence of cancer pain reduction associated with these therapies. A variety of doses ranging from 2.7-43.2 mg/day THC and 0-40 mg/day CBD were administered. Higher doses of THC were correlated with increased pain relief in some studies.

One study found that significant pain relief was achieved in doses as low as 2.7-10.8 mg THC in combination with 2.5-10.0 mg CBD, but there was conflicting evidence on whether higher doses provide superior pain relief. Some reported side effects include drowsiness, hypotension, mental clouding, and nausea and vomiting. There is evidence suggesting that medical cannabis reduces chronic or neu-ropathic pain in advanced cancer patients.

However, the results of many studies lacked statistical power, in some cases due to limited number of study subjects. Therefore, there is a need for the conduct of further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials with large sample sizes in order to establish the optimal dosage and efficacy of different cannabis-based therapies.

Source: Pubmed

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Canadian experience; Medical cannabis; Supportive cancer care

Medical cannabis in supportive cancer care: lessons from Canada

Medical cannabis, or cannabinoid-based products, continues to grow in popularity globally, driving the evolution of regulatory access frameworks; cancer patients and caregivers often rely on guidance from their physicians regarding cannabinoid-based treatments.

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Abstract

Medical cannabis, or cannabinoid-based products, continues to grow in popularity globally, driving the evolution of regulatory access frameworks; cancer patients and caregivers often rely on guidance from their physicians regarding cannabinoid-based treatments. But the majority of healthcare practitioners still feel unprepared and insufficiently informed to make reasonable, evidence-based recommendations about medical cannabis.

More than 30 countries worldwide have now legalized access to medical cannabis; yet various nations still face arduous regulatory challenges to fulfill the needs of patients, healthcare practitioners, and other medical stakeholders. This has affected the deployment of comprehensive medical cannabis access programs adapted to cultural and social realities.

With a 20-year history of legal medical cannabis access and nearly 400,000 registered patients under its federal access program, Canada serves as a model for countries which are developing their regulatory frameworks. The Canadian clinical experience in cannabinoid-based treatments is also a valuable source of lessons for healthcare professionals who wish to better understand the current evidence examining medical cannabis for oncology patients.

Source: Pubmed

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Cancer

Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts

Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession as well as legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis.

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Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession as well as legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis. While cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be evaluated as pharmacotherapy for medical conditions, the best evidence currently exists for the following medical conditions: chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis.

We also reviewed the current state of evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for several other medical conditions, while addressing the potential acute and chronic effects of cannabis use, which are issues that physicians must consider before making an official recommendation on the use of medical cannabis to a patient. As the number of patient requests for medical cannabis has been increasing, physicians must become knowledgeable on the science of medical cannabis and open to a discussion about why the patient feels that medical cannabis may be helpful.

Source: Pubmed

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