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Rothman Institute to Study Medical Marijuana for Pain Relief, Pot Prescriptions Could Reduce Need for Opioids


Medical Marijuana

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The Rothman Institute at Jefferson announced recently it would collaborate on a study to investigate the benefits of medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic and acute pain. The Rothman project will explore whether medical marijuana can be an effective alternative to opioids for pain management.

“There’s a link between access to cannabis and reduced opioid overdoses,” said physician Ari Greis, DO, a Rothman pain management specialist who will oversee the research. “We’re all being cautiously optimistic that it could be helpful to some of our patients. Because we’re leaders in orthopaedic medicine, we feel this is an opportunity we can’t pass up.”

Researchers plan to enroll patients with lower back and leg pain brought on by sciatica, or compression of spinal nerves.

“Sciatica is an unbelievably common problem, and people try to avoid surgery for it,” Greis says, explaining that opioids are a common treatment.

“We have an obvious opioid crisis that is affecting our communities, and despite everyone’s awareness of the problem there hasn’t been a really obvious way to deal with it,” Greis says. “A lot of patients have tried so many things — various medications, physical therapies, injections, and surgeries — with little relief. Now we have a new option. And it warrants looking into.”

Rothman will work with Franklin BioScience, a Colorado-based cannabis grower and retailer that expects to open a medical marijuana dispensary in late March called Beyond Hello in Bristol Township, Bucks County.