Prevalence, Demographics, Use Patterns, and Health Indicators of U.S. Cannabis Consumers
by Chane Leigh
Medical cannabis can be consumed in a variety of ways to reduce pain. Recent research has found that aerosolized cannabis can provide long-term pain reduction, specifically in patients with neuropathy and other chronic conditions. One team of researchers made use of an innovative, novel inhalation device called the Syqe Inhaler to investigate the efficacy of cannabis for neuropathic pain. The fact that cannabis can alleviate pain is not a novel discovery, but the following study found that this new delivery method had long-term benefits on pain for their participants.
The Syqe Inhaler is a product from SyqeAir, which is an “innovative MedTech company that developed a unique technology for the delivery of medical cannabis by inhalation in a metered, precise, and consistent form.” The company has taken up the responsibility to reduce pain and suffering of as many patients as they can, in the fastest way possible and they are “determined to make medical cannabis treatment a clinically standardized treatment utilizing advanced technology.”
According to SyqeAir, the inhaler can begin to reduce pain within 5 minutes. It is easy to use (one click – on inhalation), discreet, and is apparently non-hazardous unlike some other means of inhaling cannabis.
This device ensures that patients get metered and precise doses of cannabis. This has been a prevalent issue of concern regarding cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Researchers from Israel investigated the efficacy of cannabis which was administered through a novel metered selective dose inhaler, known as The Syqe Inhaler, in patients who suffer from chronic pain. The researchers explain that they analyzed “real-life long-term data collected in real time on the potential effectiveness and safety of MC [medical cannabis] administered with this device [Syqe Inhaler].”
The team included 143 patients in their research and evaluated pain intensity through the use of a numeric pain scale from the baseline to 120 days post-treatment initiation. The team also assessed the quality of life and adverse events in their participants.
Of the patients included in their research, 72% were diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain — which is described as a pain-based condition which is caused by chronic, progressive nerve disease which can occur as the result of injury or infection. The other patients were diagnosed with conditions such as chronic musculoskeletal pain, cancer pain, chronic nociplastic pain, chronic visceral pain, and conditions with concomitant chronic pain.
While the team did do follow-ups with the patients, there were 19.5% drop outs from the study as a result of patients having died (2%) withdrawn for financial reasons (5%), no longer needing MC treatment (2%), worsening medical conditions (6%), treatment ineffectiveness (3%; all men) and because of regulatory reasons (<1%).
As for the the MC Syqe Inhaler effectiveness, the researchers found that 105 (76%) of the participants reported a reduction in pain intensity, 24 patients reported no change and 9 patients reported an increase in pain intensity but the researcher could not identify why those who experienced no changes and worsening did not benefit at all.
As for the quality of life, none of the patients reported their quality of life as ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ but rather indicated that their quality of life had no change (19%), was better (59%), and was much better (33%).
The patients were administered 1.5mg of aerosolized tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which could explain why some patients did not benefit from the Syqe Inhaler when others did. Due to a variety of different factors, such as bodyweight and biological sex, dosage may not produce the same results in patients universally. Some of the patients reported some mild side effects including drowsiness and dizziness.
The team concluded by stating that “Medical cannabis treatment with the Syqe Inhaler demonstrated overall long-term pain reduction[s], quality of life improvement[s], and opioid-sparing effect[s] in a cohort of patients with chronic pain, using just a fraction of the amount of MC [medical cannabis] compared with other modes of delivery by inhalation. These outcomes were accompanied by a lower rate of AEs [adverse events] and almost no AE reports during a long-term steady-state follow-up. Additional follow-up in a larger population is warranted to corroborate our findings.”
Another recent study investigated the prevalence of cannabis use for pain management in a post-legalization capacity amongst people with chronic pain. Researchers enrolled 1344 participants who completed a questionnaire, and they found that the overall prevalence of cannabis use as a means of pain management was 30.1%.
They found that the group with the highest prevalence was aged 26 years and younger while the age group with the lowest prevalence were aged 74 years and older. The researchers concluded that cannabis for pain management is far more common in younger generations.
The researchers posit that the high prevalence of cannabis in that specific age range emphasizes the “importance of better knowledge translation for people living with chronic pain, rapidly generating evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis, and clinicians involvement in supporting people who use cannabis for pain management. ” It’s possible the SyqeAir inhaler could make medical cannabis a more attractive option to older populations since it is both easy to use and effective.
Cannabis has the ability to alleviate pain due to the cannabinoids ability to bind to the receptors located throughout our bodies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). For those who suffer from debilitating conditions, such as chronic pain, smoking as a consumption method is the fastest way to get relief.
However, smoking cannabis is not without its risk — after all, it is still smoking. This is why having innovative devices that can provide long term relief is so crucial.
This particular study using the novel inhalation method found how beneficial cannabis can be to patients, particularly in a long-term capacity. Yet, there are still many questions remaining.
Why did some participants benefit, while others experienced no change? Are there aspects that impact the effectiveness of an aerosolized cannabis product? If so, how can we mitigate it so that more people can benefit from such a device? Further research is needed to investigate the potential of this novel delivery method and its potential to offer symptom relief to patients living with chronic pain.
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