Pain. 2021 May 26. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002345. Online ahead of print.
Chronic pain is associated with mental and physical health difficulties and is prevalent among veterans. Cannabis has been put forth as a treatment for chronic pain, and changes in laws, attitudes, and use patterns have occurred over the last two decades. Differences in prevalence of non-medical cannabis use and cannabis use disorder (CUD) were examined across two groups: veterans/non-veterans and those reporting/not reporting recent pain. Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (2012-2013; n=36,309) were analyzed using logistic regression. Prevalence Differences (PD) for three cannabis outcomes: (1) past-year non-medical cannabis use, (2) frequent (≥3 times a week) non-medical use, and (3) DSM-5 CUD were estimated for those reporting recent moderate-severe pain (veterans/non-veterans), and veterans reporting/not reporting recent pain. Difference in differences were calculated to investigate prevalence differences on outcomes associated with residence in a state with medical cannabis laws (MCLs). Associations between physical and mental health and cannabis variables were tested. Results indicated that the prevalence of recent pain was greater among veterans (PD=7.25%, 95% CI [4.90, 9.60]). Among veterans, the prevalence of frequent cannabis use was greater among those with pain (PD=1.92%, 98% CI [0.21, 3.63]), and, among veterans residing in a state with MCLs, the prevalence of CUD was greater among those reporting recent pain (PD=3.88%, 98% CI [0.36, 7.39]). Findings failed to support the hypothesis that cannabis use improves mental or physical health for veterans with pain. Providers treating veterans with pain in MCL states should monitor such patients closely for CUD.
Source: ncbi 2