Although opiates are meant to be a temporary tool, millions of Americans have not been able to kick opiate dependency after being prescribed it. With an estimated 10.3 million Americans using opiates in 2018, that’s almost 4% of the country’s population. Due to this, it is imperative to find an alternative in the world of pain management.
Many promising studies have been done using cannabis with opiates or as a replacement for them, including a December 2020 survey. This research focused on the effects of cannabis and opiates used together. However, as explained by the survey, research on medical cannabis is severely limited by cannabis’s status as a Schedule 1 substance. Because of this, physicians are unable to give concrete advice to patients. Thus, patients heavily rely on medical dispensaries when choosing cannabis, as doctors are legally and informatively limited.
With the outsider status of medicinal cannabis, research is often performed through surveys. The December survey included analysis of 525 responses out of 1181 responses given (656 either did not use opiates for 3 months to treat their pain or did not use cannabis and opiates together).
Again, Cannabis Use Correlates To Lowering Dosages And Quitting Opiates
With astoundingly positive results, the study declared that:
“Our results show a remarkable percentage of patients both reporting complete cessation of opioids and decreasing opioid usage by the addition of medical cannabis, with results lasting for over a year for the majority. We hypothesize these effects may be due to the reported synergistic decrease in pain that has been shown with adding cannabis to opioids. Likely, as a result, the majority expressed not wanting opioids in the future, particularly those in the younger age group. Additional benefits of medical cannabis included improved ability to function and improved quality of life, especially for the younger age group.”
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While this statement may sound shocking, it accompanies an entire growing body of research. A 2019 study published in The Journal of Pain found that cannabis use was associated with 64% lower opioid use in patients with chronic pain. It also found that cannabis was less likely to cause adverse effects and that cannabis was correlated to a higher quality of life. Other research from 2017 found that 97% of the 2897 medical patients they surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that cannabis use helped them lower their opiate use.