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Medical Marijuana Reduces Opioid Use

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Opioids and fentanyl driving a crisis in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the public’s abuse of the drug. The crisis has also become a major U.S. foreign policy issue.  Massive lawsuits have been filling the courts due to the addictive and damaging nature of some opioids and patients have been left in shambles.  Now, data shows medical marijuana reduces opioid use.

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A new study from New York State and CUNY researchers suggests receiving medical cannabis for thirty days or more may help patients on long-term opioid treatment to lower their dose over time.

Medical Marijuana Applications Soaring Under Coronavirus Pandemic
Photo by beusbeus/Getty Images

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 different types of cancer. ound an association between receiving medical cannabis for chronic pain for a longer duration and a reduction in prescription opioid dosages among patients on long-term opioid therapy. Patients who were on higher baseline dosages of prescription opioids when they started receiving medical cannabis experienced larger reductions in opioid dosages.

Researchers explained that the study was conducted in order to explore the links that exist between marijuana legalization and opioid use. They concluded that medical marijuana curbed opioid use and provided an alternate route for treatment.

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“Findings of this cross-sectional study suggest that medical marijuana legalization implemented from 2012 to 2017 was associated with a lower rate of opioid dispensing and pain-related hospital events among some adults receiving treatment for newly diagnosed cancer,” they wrote.

“The nature of these associations and their implications for patient safety and quality of life need to be further investigated,” researchers added.

Medical marijuana has less of an impact on the body and mind. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.

With medical marijuana available in 40 states, this is indeed good news for most patients.



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