97% of Medical Marijuana Patients Use Fewer Opioids Thanks to Cannabis

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A new study led by a UC Berkeley researcher in conjunction with HelloMD has found that an overwhelming majority of medical marijuana patients use less opioid-based pain medication as a result of their ability to substitute cannabis for pain management.

Based on survey data collected from nearly 3,000 patients in HelloMD’s database, researchers found strong evidence to support the growing belief that cannabis can be an effective tool in combating the global opioid crisis.

Key Findings:

  • 97% “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis
  • 92% “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition
  • 81% “strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking cannabis with opioids. The results were similar when using cannabis with non-opioid based pain medications.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report published on June 22 reminds us that opioids are the world’s most pressing drug problem. According to the report, “there are an estimated minimum of 190,000 — in most cases avoidable — premature deaths from drugs, the majority attributable to the use of opioids.” Making matters worse, opioid production increased by approximately 33% during 2016, which the UNODC attributed to increased opium yields in Afghanistan.

Amanda Reiman, PhD, MSW, led the study on “Cannabis Use as a Substitute for Opioid and Non-Opioid Based Pain Medication.” Reiman believes that “It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.”

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has missed the deadline for their first strategic report. The teleconference to review a draft of the report has been rescheduled to Monday, July 17, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Marijuana.com Managing Editor, I studied Literature at UC Irvine and earned my MBA at Chapman University. I know myself as a Southern California writer, surfer, and staunch medical marijuana advocate. Eventually, I will spend my days writing fiction from a small balcony in Maastricht, Netherlands, a couple of hours south of Amsterdam. For now, I'm quite content with a life of reading, writing, and surfing in San Clemente, CA.

8 Comments

  1. Wow look, more empirical evidence that shows cannabis is a positive influence on people. I’m hoping that quality control will help push this whole “teeter totter” fight over the edge. Opiates started out illegal and now they’re legal, so whats the big deal! Plus cannabis has bigger innovations than opiates like with Quanta cannabis standardizing the experience.

  2. I personally have decreased my amounts of morphine intake by 1/2!! My GP is lovin’ it and will keep on approving patients who want to try marijuana for medicinal use. Of course there are strains that give you a nice “high” to help things along but for the most part it just helps with the pain control and sleep.

  3. Im sure my Dr WOULD be on board except its illegal in Texas & until he retires to Palm Springs & I move to Calif. to be closer to my brother Im stuck w/ Morphine & Norco. Its bs I can get the best another medical state can offer but 1 bad urine test & Im left w/out a compassionate doctor bcz he doesnt want to lose his license. Hes really hip too – its just messed up. Its okay for me to be chroically ill & have a dehabilitating illness while taking opioids for 20+ yrs but heaven forbid I try cannibas to ease my pain and depression add insomnia to that list. Our Country is messed up & not in a good way.

    • gary brungard on

      I hear ya Kelly.
      I’m in the same boat as you in Georgia. Either be abandoned from conventional pain management because I’m trying to reduce the amount of opiates I have to take by using canabis as an adjunct OR going back down the rabbit hole.
      I agree that it is really :'(. .

  4. Larry Marron on

    I was going through cemo they were giving me 4, 15mg. Morphine…at the point of my body giving up.and me almost. They were going to put me under when my friend came by with a G pen. Within the hour that it was given to me my life was handed right back and because of that reason I am walking talking and still breathing today. Because of that I don’t take 4, 15 mg morphine’s everyday.

  5. For those of you who are not able to get cannabis where you live, just go on line and you can order just about anything and you don’t need a prescription. I use pure green out of Vancouver, BC. Highly recommend them. They are discreet, very supportive and there products are all tested before they go on the shelf. http://www.puregreen.com

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