Access To Medical Marijuana May Be Helping Reduce Opioid Abuse

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Those with cancer, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, seizure disorders and some other conditions would be eligible.

Studies have found medical pot is effective in treating chronic pain, Bradford said.

As more states legalize marijuana, doctors may be replacing opioid prescriptions with suggestions to visit a local marijuana dispensary. State-specific data from cannabis-access jurisdictions have consistently established that in regions where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely decrease their opioid intake.

Montana regulators are preparing additional adjustments to the rules for the state's medical marijuana program. That means some people may be shifting away from prescription drugs to cannabis. He also has one in Maryland where he says there's been success with opioid patients.

Minnesota's findings are hardly unique. These are the latest findings to provide evidence towards the idea that some people are willing to use marijuana as a substitute for opioids and other prescription medications.

Texas dispensaries began selling cannabidiol oil treatments to patients registered with the state at the beginning of this year.

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"We've seen it here locally in Cumberland, Maryland where we have opioid patients that we're able to reduce their dose but again it's something that needs to be done in conjunction with the prescribing provider so that you can work out a regimen that will make the patient successful", said RX Greenhouse CEO Sajal Roy.

Two just-published clinical trials from Israel (where medical cannabis use is legally permitted) further affirm this phenomenon. Though the study is limited in size, with only 16 subjects partaking since the start in January, Denise Brennan, the program's director, said numerous participants have experienced an increased quality of life.

The studies didn't take the approach that other recent studies have, such as trying to determine if opioid addiction and overdoses can be mitigated by cannabis. That's about 39 fewer prescriptions per 1,000 people using Medicaid. In the second trial, which assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis in a cohort of over 1,200 cancer patients over a six-month period, scientists reported that almost half of respondents reported either decreasing or eliminating their use of opioids during treatment.

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Authors determined, "Both active cannabis and a low dose of oxycodone (2.5 mg) were sub-therapeutic, failing to elicit analgesia on their own; however, when administered together, pain responses ... were significantly reduced, pointing to the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis".