Medical marijuana reduces opioid use
Opioids and fentanyl have created a crisis in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic increasing public abuse of the drug. The crisis has also become an important US foreign policy issue. Because of the addictive and harmful effects of some opioids, courts are faced with massive lawsuits and patients are in shambles. Now data shows that medical marijuana reduces opioid use.
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A new study from New York State and CUNY researchers suggests that taking medical cannabis for 30 days or longer may help patients on long-term opioid treatment lower their dosage over time.
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Another study conducted by the American Medical Association showed positive data. The study, published in JAMA Oncology, analyzed the results of thousands of patients with various types of cancer. An association has been found between long-term use of medical cannabis for chronic pain and reductions in prescription opioid dosage in patients on long-term opioid therapy. Patients who received higher starting doses of prescription opioids when starting medical cannabis experienced greater reductions in opioid dosage.
The researchers explained that the study was conducted to examine the links between marijuana legalization and opioid use. They concluded that medical marijuana limited opioid use and provided an alternative treatment route.
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“The results of this cross-sectional study suggest that medical marijuana legalization from 2012 to 2017 was associated with lower rates of opioid dispensing and pain-related hospital events among some adults treated for newly diagnosed cancer,” they wrote.
“The nature of these associations and their impact on patient safety and quality of life require further investigation,” the researchers added.
Medical marijuana has fewer effects on the body and mind. Cannabis can be an effective pain treatment, significantly reduces the risk of addiction, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is as effective, if not more effective, than opioid-based medications for pain.
Since medical marijuana is available in 40 states, this is actually good news for most patients.