Is Medical Marijuana the Missing Link Needed to Reduce Opioid Prescription Abuse?
An increasing number of Americans are dying from overdosing on prescription opioid medications. Since the inception of medical marijuana, scientists have recorded evidence that medical marijuana works better, for both your mind and your body than traditional painkillers. Now you must ask yourself: can medical marijuana be a natural and effective response to the opioid crisis?
Opioids define a class of drugs that include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. In recent years, the American pharmaceutical industry has pumped a steady supply of opioids into the hands of Americans. Although helpful with pain, the damage they’ve done to American households and families is irreparable.
The use of opioid as painkillers is the leading cause of the opioid crisis. Medical marijuana can treat chronic pain in many patients and can potentially take the place of opioids.
The many possible benefits of medical marijuana include: inflammation ease, body pain, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, seizures, anorexia, HIV/AIDS, nausea (due to cancer), bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, anxiety, depression, emphysema, insomnia, Tourette syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic brain injury.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses are responsible for a record 42,000 American deaths in 2016 with 115 U.S. overdose deaths daily. Nearly 80% of heroin users reported misusing prescription opioids. An estimated 115 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses and repeating that number is necessary to hammer home just how serious of a problem we have on our hands. More than 2.6 million people in the US are addicted to opioids. To curb the opioid crisis, some states are urging doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients as a medical alternative. The use of medical marijuana may reduce the death toll from opioid overdoses that kill countless Americans every year.
Medical marijuana can help cure the opioid epidemic. Studies have shown that states with medical marijuana laws had about six percent fewer opioid prescriptions among patients compared to states without medical marijuana laws. Marijuana is the potential opioid alternative that can relieve pain at a lower risk of addiction and overdose. Those studies have also found notable reductions in opioid deaths with the availability of cannabis products. Numbers aside, we’re seeing real results among the people willing to try medical marijuana instead of prescription painkillers. The use of medical marijuana may really curb the opioid epidemic by being the first treatment for pain management.
Some scientific researchers are still skeptical of the use of medical marijuana over opioids. However, many patients support the use of medical marijuana to manage their pain. Because people can’t overdose on marijuana, access to medical marijuana will undoubtedly reduce opioid-related death rates. State after state is passing medical laws and the progress is incredible. For Florida in particular, Amendment two gives access to qualified patients to medical marijuana with a certification of a local doctor.
Over half a million people are addicted to opioids and American citizens deserve answers and options from their leaders, doctors, and lawmakers. While the effectiveness of medical marijuana is undeniable, more research needs to be done on the other side of marijuana as well. Just like with any drug, full research and information need to be available for people wanting change in their lives. The society, politicians, doctors, and scientists have the challenge to curb opioid addiction and find some alternatives.