Medical marijuana users show a significant decrease or eradication of opioid use over time, according to a scholarly study just published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. Although research on the medical advantages of cannabis is slow to develop in the United States, as marijuana legalization progresses, more empirical evidence from the medical profession is being shared with the general population.
Without a doubt, the United States has been dealing with an opioid crisis since 2016, according to health professionals. "2018 data shows that 128 persons in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Opioid misuse and addiction, which includes prescription pain medications, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, is a severe national epidemic that has a negative impact on public health as well as social and economic well-being."
It's no wonder that medical professionals are seeking new ways to alleviate chronic pain. Marijuana is now being investigated as an alternate treatment to pain management doctors' traditional opioid prescription, thanks to legalization movements across the United States.
The observational studies undertaken in community-based cannabis clinics in Ontario, Canada, from September 2015 to July 2018. The researchers focused on a sample of patients who were approved to use medicinal marijuana to treat long-term pain concerns, similar to many previous studies completed in recent years. Over the course of a year, a group of Canadian researchers discovered that "the proportion of persons who reported using opioids reduced by half."
"In this longitudinal trial, patients who continued to consume cannabis over time reported lower pain severity and pain interference scores, as well as improved quality of life and overall health symptoms scores," the authors found. … At each follow-up, the proportion of patients using opioids reduced, implying that cannabis use has an opioid-sparing impact. Given the overall rise in opioid cessation for those who stayed on cannabis, our findings point to the need for further rigorous clinical trials."
"The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health," according to the findings, which were published just a few weeks after a similar medical study conducted by researchers, again on Canadian soil.
Medical experts are emphasizing the need of researching cannabis' health advantages, and we can only hope that the US government would listen.