Recent Blog Articles
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors
Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?
Can cannabis help relieve pain?
Many people swear it works, but the science is still inconclusive.
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Statistics show that the use of cannabis among adults ages 65 and older has increased eightfold in recent years, and as many as 80% of these seniors use it to treat and manage pain. But can it really help?
"Cannabis has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years," says Staci Gruber, director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital. "Still, there is much we don’t know about how it works and for what conditions. But pain management is an area where both science and personal anecdotes tend to support its use."
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
Medical Marijuana: Facts about cannabis, THC, and CBD
Medical cannabis is available in more delivery methods than ever before, such as gummy bears, dried flowers, pills, lotions, drops and a variety of edibles, but what exactly does it do?
With so much misinformation and junk-science on the internet, it is important to get solid facts from doctors and scientists you can trust before deciding if medical marijuana could help you.
Now leading experts at Harvard Medical School are here to help you separate fact from frightening fiction about medical cannabis so you can make informed decisions. There are benefits for some conditions, and no benefit for others. And, while there is a lot of positive talk about cannabis, there are risks—especially if you’re over 55.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!