Despite a small handful of researchers who still discount cannabis analgesia, more studies continue to roll in that reaffirm cannabis' potential for providing pain relief.
Among the latest research, a thesis from Auburn University's Master's student Julio Alejandro Yanes analyzed 66 undergraduate students, half cannabis users and the other half non-users. Yanes found that the cannabis group reported lower average pain levels. Additionally, the consumer group reported higher tolerances to maximum pain levels. Combined, the findings led Yanes to determine that cannabis could, in fact, help manage pain as an analgesic property. These findings should serve as Yanes’ foundation for his dissertation work in the future.
That said, the analysis had several limitations. Yanes cited limitations due to current U.S. cannabis regulations. Additionally, the small sample size of only undergraduate students failed to produce an adequate cross-section of real world participants. Regardless, the findings should serve the student with the foundational evidence needed for his future work.
In another recent instance, an analysis of PubMed articles concerning cannabinoids and cannabis use in surgical patients found strong results which indicate that cannabinoids “reduce intestinal motility, gastric acid secretion, and nausea” and also “improve pain control, reduce inflammation, and increase appetite.” The analysis noted that cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) both "have widespread effects on the body" with notable results in the intestinal tract, among other areas.
While these findings are far from groundbreaking, they very well could serve as supporting evidence for long-held anecdotal reports. As Yanes noted, more research is required to validate any findings, especially within a larger, diverse sample group. Meanwhile, the PubMed analysis shows that cannabis use in surgical patients is a rather prevalent occurrence that will likely increase as regulations change. As such, even without conclusive evidence, physicians and others in the medical space should highly consider learning about cannabinoids and the effects on the body.
Up to this point, most studies focused on THC and CBD, but they should expand to other cannabinoids like THCA and CBDN that may also have beneficial healing properties for patients in need.