New Study Finds That Patients Prefer Cannabis Use For Pain Management
Here’s another reason why cannabis should be legalized: with millions of people suffering from different kinds of pain caused by a wide range of ailments, they should be able to access cannabis easily instead of being prescribed opioids. The staggering and de
A new study shows that patients actually prefer medical cannabis over opioids when they have to deal with painful conditions. The patients report that cannabis use works just as good as opioids to but has fewer side effects. The study, led by Amanda Reiman of the University of California, says that the data needs to go deeper into the use of cannabis as a “viable substitute for pain treatment” especially considering the terrifying effects of the opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2015 alone, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 15,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. On the other hand, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on cannabis. Even the DEA acknowledges this fact – there have been no recorded cannabis overdose cases ever.
The survey, which involved 2,897 medical cannabis patients, supports all the scientific studies that prove just how effective cannabis is at dealing with pain. Through decades of research, it’s clear that cannabis is the medicine of choice when it comes to pain management. Additionally, there are also studies that show that states where medical cannabis is available also leads to fewer deaths caused by opioid overdoses. Because of this, doctors also prescribe opioids less. Among the 2,897 patients that participated in the study, 63% of them were using cannabis to manage pain for various conditions including back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
An estimated 30% of the participants also reported using opioids recently or in the last 6 months.
Among the participants, an overwhelming 92% either agree or strongly agree that cannabis is a preferred over opioids to treat their conditions. 93% of the participants also either agree or strongly agree that they would choose cannabis over opioids even if both were accessible. Most of the participants said that cannabis worked just as well in effectively treating pain, and 97% of them agree that they could reduce their opioid dependency if they could use cannabis instead. 81% of them also agree that cannabis alone is more effective than using cannabis in conjunction with opioid use.
The study’s authors state: “A society with less opioid dependent people will result in fewer public health harms.” Reiman also adds that cannabis can help treat pain problems among patients who simply prefer not to take opioid medications because of its addictive nature. She adds, “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.” Reiman also says that she’s been hearing about the efficacy of cannabis use through anecdotal evidence from her patients for several years now.
“Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid-based medications,” Reiman says. “It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.”
The researchers partnered with HelloMD to conduct the survey, a website that promotes information on cannabis and dialogue among patients. Dr. Perry Solomon, HelloMD’s chief medical officer, also agrees with Remain’s statements. “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,” Solomon said. “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.”
Despite these facts, the federal government and several states still consider cannabis illegal. Cannabis is a medicine, and the only one out there, that can solve the opioid crisis in the United States. We all have to agree with Reiman and Solomon – it’s high time that we set aside the politics and business side of opioid use and give people the one medicine that they truly need.