A freshly released study, which investigated what patients prefer for managing chronic pain, opioids which are legal and regulated, or medical pot.
Researchers found that patients prefer medical marijuana and believe the effectiveness is comparable to opioids without all of the harsh side effects.
“This study can conclude that medical cannabis patients report successfully using cannabis along with or as a substitute for opioid-based pain medication.”
“Patients in this study who are using cannabis and opioids report that they are able to use less opioids and that cannabis presents less unwanted side effects than their opioid-based medication.”
The researchers, from UC Berkeley and Kent State, reached out to participants via survey curious about their pain, and their opioid and cannabis use.
A total of 2,810 people responded who were actively using cannabis for pain, out of those 828 claim they had used some form of opioids within the last 6 months for pain.
Out of the 828 people who had used opioids recently, 97% ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that they have been able to cut back on opioid consumption when they are actively using cannabis. 89 percent of those people ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that opioids give them undesired side affects that marijuana doesn’t.
The researchers also concluded,
“81 percent ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioids”.
Essentially, if a choice is available, a very overwhelming amount of participants would rather use marijuana than opioids.
Although opioids are an important part of managing pain, nearly 100 people are dying a day due to abusive opioid usage, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
This is a combination of heroin and prescription opioids such as morphine and codeine.
“Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Alternatives to Opioids for the treatment of pain are necessary to address this issue,” the researchers write.
Although marijuana is far from a perfect solution, there has been no recorded overdoses from marijuana – and this study has shown that the patients themselves rate the drug highly for pain management.
Unfortunately, this study leaves some things to be desired – the reporting was all personal, which can sometimes cause biases. It also took its sample from HelloMD, an online community for medical cannabis patients, who were probably more likely to have had success with cannabis for their pain in the past.
However, the study is still interesting and shows that many people really do prefer using marijuana than opioids for pain management.
Plus, it gives scientists even more of a reason to find out how marijuana affects people over longer periods, and how harm could be minimized in the future.