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Medical Marijuana’s Benefits Might Just Be a Myth

Medical Marijuana’s Benefits Might Just Be a Myth

While many have argued that cannabis has a “higher purpose” in their life, a new study found that medical marijuana may just have the same pain-relieving effect as a fake pill.

Researchers reviewed 20 different studies which examined the pain-relieving benefits for more than 1,500 participants. While many studies have claimed that marijuana may help patients dealing with chronic pain, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that what’s likely happening is more of a placebo effect than actual pain relief.

Specifically, researchers found that participants said their pain dropped significantly after taking a placebo pill. However, there was no difference in actual pain reduction between those using cannabis and those consuming the fake medication. Instead, the study found that placebo responses contributed significantly to the pain reduction seen in medical marijuana trials.

To make matters MORE interesting, the researchers also found that there is a strong correlation between the pain-relieving effects discovered in these trials and the amount of media coverage they receive. Overall, it appears that marijuana medical trials receive more coverage — and more positive reporting — regardless of how successful they actually are. 

“We see that cannabis studies are often described in positive terms in the media regardless of their results,” said Dr. Filip Gedin, a researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience. “This is problematic and can influence expectations when it comes to the effects of cannabis therapy on pain. The greater the benefit a treatment is assumed to have, the more potential harms can be tolerated.”

The research didn’t dive into any theories about why media covers medical marijuana studies in this way, but they did note that it appears that trials involving cannabis do appear more favorably in media than other medical trial studies.

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