As the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic sweeps America, with an estimated 35,000 people dying annually, a new study has shown that 81 percent of pain sufferers would choose mediclal cannabis over opiates if given the choice by their doctor.

The study looked at data from 3,000 participants, questioning their use of cannabis and how it has affected their consumption of opioids.

The study was carried out by HelloMD, a huge nationwide community of medical cannabis patients, in conjunction with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. The lead author, Amanda Reiman, PhD, MSW, a lecturer at the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, said:

“The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States. The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid related overdoses and dependence. Cannabis has been used throughout the world for thousands of years to treat pain and other physical and mental health conditions.”

Reiman is not alone in her assertions regarding medical cannabis and its relationship with opiates. As per a Cannatech report from June 28, 2017, – “Researchers from the University of California, San Diego looked at hospitalization records from 1997 to 2014 in 27 states, nine of which legalized medical cannabis within that timeframe. They found that hospitalization rates of people suffering from painkiller abuse and addiction dropped on average 23 percent in states which had a medical cannabis program.”

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Her study concluded with some very compelling facts and figures, which would make even the most pen-happy of doctors sit up and take stock:

  • 97 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis.
  • 92 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition.
  • 81 percent “strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking cannabis with opioids. The results were similar when using cannabis with non-opioid based pain medications.

It seems high time that someone stepped in to curtail the shocking loss of life caused by opiate addiction and wrong dosage across America. The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) noted recently that most drug overdose deaths (more than 60 percent) involve an opioid with 91 Americans dying daily from opioid overdoses.

opiate table
Image credit- prnewswire

Dr Perry Solomon, who was also involved in the new study, also spoke to reporters about his findings, stating that as well as being helpful for opiate addiction, cannabis is not a gateway drug: “The latest publication from the National Academy of Sciences clearly refuted the ‘gateway drug’ theory that using marijuana can lead to opioid addiction, instead finding evidence of cannabis having multiple curative benefits,”

Dr Solomon added, “Our study further substantiates this. Hopefully this will awaken the public, medical professionals and legislatures to the fact that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive product, available to help fight the opioid epidemic.”

The authors of the study concluded that the results, “demonstrate that inhaled cannabis safely augments the analgesic effects of opioids.” That being the case, as substantiated by numerous other studies, in states where medical cannabis is legal, fewer people become addicted or overdose from opiates.

It’s only a matter of time before patients and health professionals alike wake up to the realities of opiate addiction, and turn to medical cannabis as a safer and healthier alternative to treat chronic pain.

[Image credit- Pixabay]

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