Access To Medical Marijuana May Be Helping Reduce Opioid Abuse

AP License N  A Created 2018:02:13 13:27:33

Access To Medical Marijuana May Be Helping Reduce Opioid Abuse

One of the lead sponsors of a medical-marijuana bill in Tennessee withdrew the measure Tuesday after telling fellow lawmakers the legislation has been so watered down that passing it would actually harm rather than help patients.

On Monday, the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine published a pair of persuasive new studies reinforcing this opinion.

Many of those who abuse opioids first started out with some kind of pain issue and were prescribed an opioid.

'Although older adults may be a bit wary about marijuana, the majority support more research on it, ' Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP, said. Medicaid is primarily a health insurance program for low-income people. Wen, with Jason Hockenberry at Emory University, used Medicaid data. "But that means that we don't know what's going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I'm afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive". Opioid overdose has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000 - more than the number of Americans killed in World War II. "The potential of marijuana liberalization to reduce the use and consequences of prescription opioids. deserves consideration during the policy discussions about marijuana reform and the opioid epidemic", it says.

The studies didn't take the approach that other recent studies have, such as trying to determine if opioid addiction and overdoses can be mitigated by cannabis.

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine adds credence to the whole idea, saying that there is proof that cannabis is effective at managing and treating pain for certain conditions. "Most medicines have to go through a rigorous FDA process, and right now with cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug, it makes it very hard for researchers to explore exactly what it is in cannabis that works for people, what safe levels are, what doses are, so that would be an important next step", DeLeonardo said. "For example, cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors coincidentally happen to be located very close by in many places in the brain", Hill said.

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With his ankle in a seemingly unnatural position, a crouching Finau then appeared to pop the joint back into its socket. So excited was Finau that he took off in a dead sprint, first forwards, then backwards, and that's when it went wrong.

"If initial licit prescriptions for opioids can be reduced, then there is a plausible theoretical pathway to anticipate that opioid misuse and abuse could also fall".

"No one has ever died of cannabis, so it has many safety advantages over opiates", Bradford said.

In order to evaluate whether medical marijuana could function as an effective and safe alternative to opioids, the two teams of researchers looked at whether opioid prescriptions were lower in states that had active medical cannabis laws and whether those states that enacted these laws during the study period saw reductions in opioid prescriptions.

"In colorado, particularly, despite legalization, there has not been a reduction in deaths", Eberlein claimed.

The research suggests that some people turn to marijuana as a way to treat their pain, and by so doing, avoid more risky addictive drugs.

The method of procurement also had a significant impact on opioid prescription patterns. "Moreover, the implementation of adult-use marijuana laws, which all occurred in states with existing medical marijuana laws, was associated with a 6.38 percent lower rate of opioid prescribing", they concluded.

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For its part, the federal government relaxed rules for prescribing methadone and pharmaceutical heroin in late March.

This is not the first time researchers have found a link between marijuana legalization and decreased opioid use. Patients in states that only allowed them to grow pot at home showed about 7 percent fewer doses.

A local emergency room doctor is skeptical about a study that seems to favor legalizing marijuana. "Nevertheless, marijuana liberalization alone can not solve the opioid epidemic". State-specific data from cannabis-access jurisdictions have consistently established that in regions where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely decrease their opioid intake.

"There is a great deal of movement in the Northeast, with New Hampshire and New Jersey being well-positioned to legalize adult use", Moore said.

"We spend lots of money on new drugs, which have marginal benefit and add those to our formularies", Bansback said. "But unfortunately, the policies have far outpaced the science at this point".

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