Many people have advocated using medical marijuana as an alternative for prescription opioids. But now researchers at the University of Florida will determine just how viable cannabis is as as substitute.

University of Florida doctors announced a new study examining the use of medical marijuana as an alternative for opioids in HIV and AIDS patients. Many people with HIV or AIDS use marijuana to help treat pain, stress and to help sleeping. The study is being funded by a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and will last for five years.

HIV and AIDs are both covered under Florida's medical marijuana laws. However, that doesn't mean that all patients who use cannabis to treat the illness do so legally. The researchers are taking that into account, and will also examine the differences between patients who use legal medical marijuana and those who purchase it on the black market.

The main purpose of the study is to determine marijuana's viability and effectiveness for treating HIV/AIDS patients compared to prescription painkillers. The researchers at the University of Florida say opioids can be extremely addicting (as most people know) and that doctors in the state are looking for alternatives. 

While this study seems limited to solely HIV/AIDS patients, it can still provide valuable data about the effects of medical marijuana that can be used to help justify its use for other conditions and illnesses as well.