Pain Management & Mental Health Are the Leading ‘Why’ Behind Cannabis Buys


Ryan Allway

June 5th, 2019

App, Policy


Over 80 percent of U.S. adults over 21 would consume cannabis to treat chronic pain, improve mental health, and treat minor injuries, according to a new Nielsen study.

The study found that more than 40 percent of all headache/migraine, arthritic pain, and back/neck pain sufferers are interested in consuming cannabis. About 70 percent believe that cannabis would be a more natural and effective alternative to over-the-counter or prescription medications.

The big question for business is whether these perceptions will translate into purchases and repurchases.

Systematic reviews of acute pain studies unequivocally point out the lack of effectiveness of cannabinoids in treatment, but cannabinoids do appear to provide an analgesic benefit for chronic (e.g. neuropathic) pain sufferers. In short, the efficacy of cannabis may depend on the type of pain.

In addition, the efficacy of cannabis may depend on the type of cannabis. The cannabis plant has over 100 phytocannabinoids and more than 200 terpenes and additional flavonoids. Scientists are only beginning to understand how the so-called ‘entourage effect’ may play a role in certain effects.

The mental health effects of cannabis may also depend heavily on the genetics of each cannabis strain. While studies remain very early stage in this area, anecdotal evidence suggests that different strains produce very different experiences, such as relaxation, focus, or energy.

Over time, cannabis could help reduce dependence on potentially harmful pain or mental health medications. Most importantly, chronic pain sufferers could reduce their consumption of opioids, which are very addictive and have become a leading cause of death in the United States.

The ongoing legalization of medical cannabis across a growing number of jurisdictions could help push new clinical studies through the research pipeline and answer some of these unanswered questions. Ultimately, chronic pain and mental health sufferers could get valuable new treatment options.

Ryan Allway

About Ryan Allway

Mr. Allway has over a decade of experience in the financial markets as both a private investor and financial journalist. He has been actively involved in the cannabis industry since its inception, covering public and private companies.


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