Investigators from the University of New Mexico have recently published data suggesting chronic pain patients enrolled in a medical marijuana program are better able to reduce their use of prescription drugs than those who abstain from cannabis use. The study, which was published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, analyzed the drug use patterns of 83 pain patients enrolled in a medical cannabis program and 42 patients who were not enrolled over the course of 24 months. Of those enrolled in the statewide medical marijuana program, 34% eliminated their prescription use by the end of the study, and 36% reduced their use of other medications. On average, registered medical marijuana patients significantly reduced their prescription medication intake, while non-registrants did not.
Authors concluded, “Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations… [A] shift from prescriptions for other scheduled drugs to cannabis may result in less frequent interactions with our conventional healthcare system and potentially improved patient health.” This study supports similar findings from previous studies.