There are many well being crises at the moment affecting the United States. But one of many deadliest is the opioid epidemic, which has wreaked havoc throughout the nation. In 2019, greater than 130 folks died each single day from opioid-related drug overdoses. That quantities to a surprising 47,600 deaths yearly.
While the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared opioid abuse a public well being disaster in 2017, nice strides haven’t been taken to appropriately sort out the difficulty.
However, in an effort to lower opioid utilization (principally by means of authorized prescriptions from physicians), some medical professionals are recommending their sufferers use medical marijuana (MMJ) merchandise rather than opioid prescriptions to handle ache signs. A recent study signifies that US states with entry to MMJ have seen as much as a 20% drop in sure opioid use.
What is the MMJ impact on opioid use?
Doctors are more and more suggesting their sufferers swap from extremely addictive prescription opioids to MMJ merchandise as a result of they’re much safer, and they don’t seem to be addictive. The above-mentioned research particularly centered on orthopedic surgeons (who’re the third-highest prescribers of opioids); it famous that, in states the place MMJ merchandise are authorized and out there, as much as 20% fewer opioids have been prescribed.
The incontrovertible fact that MMJ merchandise are accessible makes an enormous distinction. In states with extra restrictive MMJ legal guidelines and entry to low-THC merchandise solely, there wasn’t a lot of a lower in opioid prescriptions. So, when MMJ legal guidelines are much less restrictive and dispensaries are simply accessible, sufferers have a a lot simpler time utilizing MMJ merchandise to deal with their signs versus counting on the riskier possibility of opioids.
Does MMJ lower opioid use?
If medical doctors are prepared to counsel MMJ merchandise to their sufferers in lieu of prescribing opioids, MMJ utilization can find yourself lowering total opioid utilization within the well being care trade. Several research have proven that MMJ merchandise might have an effect on the opioid epidemic; when switching to a hashish routine, many sufferers are capable of cut back or utterly cease taking their opioid prescriptions.
This signifies that the hashish impact on opioid reliance might begin to flip the tide of the epidemic – the extra individuals who aren’t launched to taking opioids within the first place, the less incidences of opioid addictions and overdoses will happen. Additionally, opioid customers who turn into addicted typically find yourself turning to much more harmful medication (resembling heroin) with a purpose to get their repair. This results in much more deaths – which could possibly be prevented on the outset if a affected person have been offered with an MMJ possibility as a substitute of an opioid prescription.
Could MMJ substitute prescribed opioid use?
Although there’ll all the time be some physicians preferring prescribing opioids to their sufferers, it’s potential that MMJ merchandise might substitute these extra harmful drugs for lots of people sooner or later.
Let’s check out three major the explanation why MMJ merchandise could be a a lot better various to opioids.
MMJ merchandise are a lot safer
Opioids are extremely addictive and ceaselessly lead to deadly overdoses. Marijuana isn’t bodily addictive, so sufferers don’t must ingest an increasing number of to really feel the consequences. Additionally, people don’t should taper off when stopping MMJ utilization; there’s no hazard in stopping chilly turkey.
Aside from not being addictive, there’s one other major bodily good thing about MMJ merchandise – there aren’t any uncomfortable side effects! Aside from emotions of euphoria and leisure, and generally an elevated urge for food, MMJ merchandise don’t have any of the nasty uncomfortable side effects that opioids do (something from nausea and dizziness to constipation and lack of urge for food). Overall, utilizing MMJ merchandise is a a lot safer, extra pure remedy possibility for ache administration.
MMJ merchandise are simple to make use of
There is quite a lot of versatility with regards to utilizing MMJ merchandise versus opioids. MMJ merchandise can vary of their efficiency and in how they’re ingested (smoked, vaped, in edibles, tinctures, and many others.) in order that they can be utilized in a extra customized approach for every particular person affected person.
Each particular person can work with their doctor or with an professional at their native dispensary to give you an MMJ routine that works for his or her explicit signs and wishes.
MMJ merchandise are cheaper
Even although opioids are generally lined by medical health insurance, a month’s provide of capsules (resembling Oxycontin or Vicodin) can value anyplace between $40 and $550! People hooked on opioids can undergo a month’s provide way more rapidly, resulting in an extremely pricey behavior.
MMJ merchandise could be less expensive, particularly relying on the shape that’s most useful to the affected person. Some states additionally provide reductions for individuals who personal MMJ playing cards. For instance, in California, MMJ cardholders don’t pay gross sales tax on any of their MMJ purchases, making MMJ a way more cost-effective possibility than opioid medication.
As extra research are performed sooner or later, it should seemingly turn into much more evident that relying extra on a cannabis-based remedy routine can result in a lower in opioid utilization (and in total addictions and deaths within the US). Therefore, states which are extra supportive of MMJ utilization will see opioid instances proceed to lower. Turning to MMJ merchandise could possibly be the catalyst wanted to lastly finish the combat towards the opioid epidemic on this nation.