Scientific American: Could Medical Cannabis Break the Painkiller Epidemic?

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Let us hope that it can. Painkiller addiction has really hurt parts of this country. Addiction to these drugs has also escalated the use of illegal heroin as people run out of sources from which to obtain the officially sanctioned pills but still need to feed their addiction. If cannabis can help to alleviate this horrible situation which has spread throughout the country we need to get on it pronto.

And for those who think this is trading one type of dope for another kind there is some truth to that. But pot isn’t physically addictive, whereas painkillers are often terribly so. Also it is literally impossible to overdose using marijuana, whereas with painkillers it is tragically too easy.

(From The Scientific American)

As early as 15 years ago physicians began hearing that patients were using cannabis instead of prescription opioids for pain. These anecdotes inspired a research team led by Marcus Bachhuber, assistant professor of medicine at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, to examine whether some states’ legalization of medical cannabis had affected the number of opioid overdose deaths. Published in 2014, the study revealed an intriguing trend: between 1999 and 2010, states that permitted medical marijuana had an average of almost 25 percent fewer opioid overdose deaths each year than states where cannabis remained illegal…

…Medical cannabis was also a hot topic at the 2016 meeting of the American Pain Society, says Simon Haroutounian, chief of clinical research at the Washington University Pain Center in St. Louis. He co-authored a study, published online in February in the Clinical Journal of Pain, that followed a group of 176 chronic pain patients in Israel over seven months and found that 44 percent of them stopped taking prescription opioids within seven months of starting medical cannabis. The research is among several recent observational studies showing an association between medical cannabis use and decreased dependence on opioids.

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