Photo via iStock/Nicholas Belton
GOOD NEWS, it looks like medical marijuana is slowly putting a dent in the opioid abuse epidemic, according to two studies that were released Monday.
The research shows that people who turned to marijuana as a way to treat their pain avoided more dangerous & addictive drugs such as opioids & oxycotton. The findings are the latest to lend support to the idea that people are willing to substitute marijuana for opioids/prescription drugs.
A lot of people end up abusing the opioid drugs such as oxycodone and heroin after starting off with a legitimate prescription for the pain. Authors argue that people who avoid that first prescription are less likely to end up as part of the opioid epidemic.
“We do know that cannabis is much less risky than opiates, as far as likelihood of dependency,” says W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia. “And certainly there’s no mortality risk” from the drug itself.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says there’s good evidence that cannabis is effective at treating pain for some conditions. So Bradford and three colleagues — including his scientist daughter — decided to see whether people who can get easy access to medical marijuana are less likely to get prescription opioids. The answer, they report in JAMA Internal Medicine, is yes.
“There are substantial reductions in opiate use” in states that have initiated dispensaries for medical marijuana, he says.