A new study conducted by researchers from the University of New Mexico suggests that marijuana has the potential to reduce opioid use among patients experiencing chronic pain. This adds to the bulk of scientific literature providing strong evidence that could reclassify marijuana as a Schedule I substance and perhaps help with the sombering opioid crisis in the US.
Published in PLOS One, the UNM study was the work of psychology professor Jacob Miguel Vigil and assistant economics professor Sarah See Stith. They tracked 37 habitual opioid users with chronic pain who have enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program anytime within 2010 and 20015. They then compared them to 29 other patients who experience the same condition but did not enroll in the state’s program.
The study results showed that the experimental group which enrolled in the program showed a reduction in opioid use, apparently finding cannabis an effective substitute to their chronic pain problems.
Virgil says that this is supported by informal surveys which showed the same results.
The opioid crisis
The opioid problem in the US has gone so bad that it has been responsible for the deaths of 100 individuals a day due to overdosing.
America’s current dilemma can be traced back to aggressive marketing tactics of pharmacies in the mid 90s which advertised these strong painkillers for chronic pain. Traditionally, they were mostly used to ease cancer pain. This led to the proliferation of opioid use, causing many patients to be dependent on the substance. Until now, there are no scientifically proven substitutes nor recourse to the problem unless they consider the federally illegal cannabis.
With evidence adding up, will Sessions and his government keep ignoring data and hold their ground or will this lead to a positive future not just for cannabis businesses but also for the millions of opioid-dependent patients in the country?