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Older Adults Believe Marijuana Can Be Effective for Pain

Most older adults support its use when recommended by doctor; some support its use for anyone

marijuana leaf

TUESDAY, April 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults believe marijuana to be effective for pain relief, and many support its use, according to the results of a National Poll on Healthy Aging, conducted for the University of Michigan.

A national sample of about 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 years were asked about marijuana use for medical purposes, including its perceived benefits.

According to the poll, 6 percent of respondents reported using marijuana for medical purposes, while 18 percent reported knowing someone who uses marijuana for medical purposes. Thirty-one percent felt that marijuana definitely provides pain relief, while 38 and 27 percent felt that it probably provides pain relief or were unsure, respectively. Forty-eight percent felt that prescription medications were more effective than marijuana for treating pain, while 14 percent thought marijuana was more effective. Fifty-seven percent of respondents thought that prescription pain medications had more side effects, while 9 percent thought marijuana had more side effects. About half of respondents (48 percent) believed prescription pain medication was more addictive than marijuana, while 13 percent believed marijuana to be more addictive. Overall, 45 percent strongly support and 35 percent somewhat support allowing medical marijuana use only with a doctor's recommendation; 40 percent support its use for anyone.

"These perceptions of relative safety and efficacy are important for physicians, other providers, and public health regulators to understand," Preeti Malani, M.D., director of the poll, said in a statement.

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