Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021

Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021

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25 march/april 2021 | cannabis patient care research focus The Pain Dilemma: Cannabis Versus Medicine? B Y A L I S S A M A R R A P O D I A S THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS across the country try to manage their chronic pain with myriad medi- cations, they are also juggling side effects, possible toxicity and sometimes even overdose, opioid ad- diction, and an overall quality of life issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1999–2019, nearly 450,000 people died from overdoses involv- ing opioids, including prescription and illicit opioids. Perhaps even more alarming is that opioids were involved in near- ly 47,000 deaths in 2018, almost six times the number of opi- oid-involved overdose deaths in 1999. And the rate of ad- diction and overdoses due to opioids continues to rise and devastate families, communities, and patients with chronic conditions (1). As researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, said, "Unless the nation develops an in- creased tolerance to chronic pain, reduction in opioid pre- scribing leaves a vacuum that will be filled with other therapies" (2). As such, researchers, scientists, and other interested par- ties have been investigating cannabis' role in chronic pain. Kevin Boehnke, PhD, a research investigator at the Chron- ic Pain Institute Research Center in the anesthesiology de- partment at the University of Michigan took an interest in cannabis research as a side project during his PhD, and then switched his energy to cannabis full time in 2017 when he be- gan a research fellowship at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Re- search Center. Boehnke has been tackling questions such as what health conditions are patients using cannabis for, which dosage formats are they using, are patients reducing their use of opioids, and does it help chronic pain. We recently dis- cussed some of the research surrounding those questions with Boehnke and the impact his research might have on the broader medical cannabis community. Chronic Pain, Opioid Reduction, and Cannabis Boehnke started his PhD career in public health studying water pankajstock123

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