Two out of three pain patients were able to replace opioids with cannabis in a new study, further illustrating the dire need for drug policy reform in those states hardest hit by the country’s ongoing opioid epidemic.
The study by Aclara Research surveyed more than 400 patients and 500 pharmacists on medical marijuana and opioid addiction.
Among polled patients, 67 percent said they were able to quit opioids once they had access to a state medical marijuana program. Another 29 percent said they were able to reduce their opioid use thanks to cannabis. That means only four percent of those surveyed did not have their opioid use affected by cannabis.
Moreover, 30 percent of the patients polled by Aclara said they were able to quit all prescription drugs after they started using cannabis.
Among pharmacists, 87 percent of those surveyed said medical marijuana should be legal, and 69 percent said they believe pharmacists should dispense the drug and provide guidance to patients. Only 15 percent of patients said they spoke with a pharmacist about cannabis, while 40 percent said they learned about it online.
Aclara’s study is just the latest to highlight medical marijuana’s potential in the fight against America’s opioid epidemic.
One such study – conducted by DePaul and Rush universities earlier this year – looked at a sample of 30 medical marijuana patients in Illinois and found that some used cannabis to help them reduce or even eliminate their use of prescription medications altogether.
Another study, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that “states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”
It would seem that several high-level decision-makers in the U.S. could stand to take in some of this research – a prime example being New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who recently declared that marijuana legalization would “lead to more death” in America’s opioid crisis.
h/t Huffington Post