Medical Marijuana Replacing Opioids As Choice For Pain

According to a new study released by the American Medical Association (AMA), one in every three chronic pain sufferers has tried marijuana as a therapy option. Most of that group admitted to using cannabis as a substitute for conventional pain drugs, including opioids.

The latest report from researchers at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that cannabinoids can be excellent pain management aids for some people and pharmaceutical replacements for others.

In a blog post published on Friday, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano stated that cannabis has “proven efficacy in the treatment of various illnesses, including chronic pain, and it possesses a safety profile comparable or superior to other banned medications.” He adds that it’s no surprise that those with legal access to cannabis use it instead of other potentially less effective and more hazardous substances. As legal access expands, the cannabis replacement effect is likely to become more pronounced in the future.

According to the research paper, backed by federal funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than half of the adults who used cannabis to alleviate chronic pain reported a decrease in their use of prescription opioids, prescription non-opioids, and over-the-counter pain medications. In contrast, less than one percent said that cannabis use increased their use of these medications.

The high level of cannabis replacement with both opioid and non-opioid treatment stresses the significance of the study to clarify the usefulness and potential detrimental effects of cannabis. The findings indicate that state cannabis legislation has made cannabis available as an analgesic medication, notwithstanding understanding gaps in its usage as a medicinal treatment for pain.

cannabis replacement with both opioid

Other Research Results

  • A recent AMA study discovered that legalizing medical marijuana at the state level is connected with a considerable reduction in opioid prescriptions and use among specific cancer patients.
  • A September study indicated that legalizing medical cannabis can help patients reduce or discontinue their usage of opiate medicines without affecting their quality of life.
  • Another study published the same month indicated that when states legalize marijuana, the pharmaceutical industry suffers a significant economic hit, with an average market loss of approximately $10 billion for drugmakers at every legalization event.

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence, data-driven studies, and observational studies indicating that some people use cannabis as an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals such as opioid-based painkillers and sleep pills. An analysis of Medicaid data on prescription medications published last year discovered that legalizing marijuana for adult use is connected with “substantial reductions” in the use of prescription drugs for treating different diseases.

A major factor in the increasing use of cannabis as a therapeutic option instead of prescription painkillers is its demonstrated safety profile. While overdoses from prescription opioid medications result in over 40,000 deaths per year and have become an epidemic in the U.S., cannabis is non-addictive. It cannot cause fatal overdoses due to its extremely low toxicity.

Overall, we still don’t know a lot about the science of marijuana and pain relief. But what we know is optimistic—and it looks like we’re just getting started. One thing is for sure: there’s a vast market for marijuana-based pain relief. That number will only grow as society continues to become more accepting of cannabis use. Expect to see even more research in this area soon.

science of marijuana and pain relief

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One Response

  1. Great article, cannabis is an exit strategy to opioid abuse addiction. This proven fact needs more publicity.

    What’s great about 4:20?
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    Nice morning wake and bake with a Beard Bros Friday Sesh morning wake-up call. Thank you and stay warm in Missoula.

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