Marijuana users experience MORE pain: Study finds cannabis lowers pain tolerance – meaning users need more painkillers after injury
- After injury, cannabis users require higher doses of pain medication than non-users
- Higher doses of painkillers lengthen people’s hospital stays and delay their recovery
- Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states of America; recreational use is legal in the 9th
New research suggests that marijuana users may develop a lower pain tolerance.
A small study found that people who use cannabis require higher doses of pain medication than non-users after a major traumatic event, such as a car accident.
The drug, which is legal for medical use in most US states, is mainly prescribed for pain relief.
But this new research from Colorado — which was the first state to legalize — suggests that short-term pain relief could weaken the body’s resistance to pain over time.
Marijuana users may develop lower pain tolerance, research suggests (stock)
DOES CANNABIS INCREASE THE RISK OF PSYCHOSIS?
Going from an occasional marijuana user to daily indulgence increases the risk of psychosis by as much as 159 percent, research revealed in July 2017.
A study found that marijuana causes psychosis-like experiences by increasing the user’s risk of depression. The two mental health conditions have been linked before.
Frequent substance abuse also significantly reduces the user’s ability to resist socially unacceptable behavior when provoked, the research adds.
Study author Josiane Bourque of the University of Montreal said: “Our findings confirm that becoming a more regular marijuana user during adolescence is indeed associated with an increased risk of psychotic symptoms.
‘[Psychosis symptoms] may be rare and therefore not problematic for the adolescent, if these experiences are reported continuously year after year, then there is an increased risk of a first psychotic episode or other psychiatric condition.”
Researchers from the University of Montreal analyzed approximately 4,000 13-year-olds from 31 area high schools.
Each year for four years, study participants completed questionnaires about any substance abuse and psychotic experiences.
Psychotic symptoms included perceptual aberration – such as the feeling that something external was part of their body – and the belief that they had been unfairly mistreated.
Participants also completed cognitive tasks that allowed the researchers to assess their IQ, memory and response to stimuli.
Researchers at the Swedish Medical Center in Colorado analyzed approximately 260 people who were involved in minor traffic accidents and were admitted to trauma centers.
Of these, 54 tested positive for recent marijuana use, while 16 claimed to use the drug more or less every day.
About nine percent of participants tested positive for other prescription or illegal drugs, such as cocaine and opiates.
Marijuana users required an average of 7.6 mg of opioid painkillers per day in the hospital, compared to 5.6 mg for non-drug users.
On a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the worst, cannabis users rated their daily pain at 4.9, compared to 4.2 for non-users.
That could cause marijuana users to stay in the hospital longer because “we don’t want to discharge them on massive doses of narcotics,” said Dr. Anne Wagner of the UCHealth Burn Center in Colorado, who was not involved in the study.
Users may also experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, which can delay healing.
Other prescription or illegal drugs do not have the same effect on users’ pain levels.
Speaking about the findings, Dr Wagner said: “I really think that’s what a lot of people think [marijuana is] very harmless.
“I don’t think they realize how much it’s going to affect them in their recovery.”
Lead author Kristin Salottolo added, “Marijuana users who need pain relief deserve special consideration when choosing the dosage and frequency of narcotics. [painkillers]’.
The researchers add that more studies are needed to determine how best to alleviate discomfort in cannabis users.
The findings were published in the journal Patient Safety in Surgery.