Cannabis, Chronic Pain, and Opioid Reduction

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This week's medical marijuana post will analyze the effects of whole plant cannabis on non-cancer related chronic pain.

According to a report issued in 2011, 100 million* people suffer from chronic pain in America alone, so the need to find an effective treatment for the illness is astounding. A study in Australia analyzed the effects of whole-plant cannabis on patients using opioid pain relievers, the results were promising. The study concluded that 16% of the sample population also used whole-plant cannabis in addition to their opioid regimen, and an additional 25% of the population would use cannabis if it was made available to them.

The use of cannabis can reduce a patient's need to use opioids, which will reduce the negative side effects associated with opioids. In 2012 in the US alone, 16,007 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose, making up 72% of all pharmaceutical overdoses. In states where medical marijuana is legal, these opioid related deaths were reduced by 25%.

Even when cannabis may not completely remove a patient's need to use opioids, it offers a good supplement to these pharmaceuticals that can lead to healthier and happier pain management.

To see more about this study and other chronic pain statistics, refer to the following links:
Source: Medical Jane
Source: Drug and Alcohol Dependence
*pain statistics from PainMed