Cannabis' effect on patients' consumption of prescription drugs
The American Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported disturbing findings confirming over 20,000 deaths from painkiller overdoses in 2014 in the United States out of a total of 47,000 drug overdose deaths. Deaths involving powerful synthetic opioids show an increase by over 80%.
These concerning prescription drug trends are reflected in the following studies, all of which have been published in the last 18 months.
A National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper published in 2015 found that the presence of medical cannabis dispensaries were linked with a 15 to 35% decrease in substance abuse admissions and a similar drop in opiate overdose deaths.
The Journal of the American Medical Association found that states with a medical marijuana program reported an almost 25% reduction in opiate deaths as compared to states without the program.
Research published recently in the journal Alcohol and Drug Review stated that 80 percent of chronic pain sufferers who are medical cannabis users reported the ability to substitute medical cannabis for their prescription medication. Better yet, 52 percent reported a decrease in alcohol consumption.
A 2015 Canadian study by the journal Pain found no significant side effects among medical cannabis users after one year of treatment. Less serious side-effects of dizziness and coughing, however, were reported.A macro analysis of 79 different studies found in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that cannabinoids are 30 percent more effective at treating chronic pain than a placebo.
These are very promising findings which contribute to our cause to make high-grade medical cannabis available to all patients who need it.