Marijuana Decreases Opioid Use, Study Says suggesting cannabis could be a key in fighting the opioid epidemic that’s killing people. Decreasing by Thousands across the country, another has found that MMJ enrollees decrease opioid usage.
The study, which came out of University of Mexico, followed 37 habitual, opioid-using, chronic pain suffering patients who chose to enroll in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, as well as 29 patients with similar conditions who chose not to enroll in the program. They found a whopping 47 percent reduction in daily opioid usage in patients who also used cannabis. The study also found that program enrollment was linked with 17 times higher odds, adjusted for gender and age, of stopping opioid prescriptions and five times higher odds of reducing daily opioid dosages. Patients who didn’t enroll in the medical cannabis program actually self reported a ten percent increase in daily opioid dosages over the 21-month observation period.
As many researchers of marijuana-related studies have in the past, this study’s authors are saying their findings justify and call for more in-depth research on the effects of cannabis; in this instance, larger sample observational studies that include placebo-based randomized controlled trials. “If cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic,” said Jacob Virgil, UNM associate professor of psychology and one of the study authors in a press release for the study.
Survey respondents that had enrolled in the medical cannabis program reported as well as a reduction in opioid usage that they experienced improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, their social life, higher activity levels, and better concentration after one year in the program. For those who suffer from chronic pain, whether from a condition or injury, know all too well the kind of impact that pain can have on your everyday life. MMJ has a serious potential for both helping treat the people who suffer the most as well as help many people be less dependent on or completely independent of opioids. That’s a goal that’s worth working towards.