A recent publication by the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests that patients who are addicted to opioids for pain relief could see a significant reduction in its use if they couple it with medical marijuana.
Cannabis medicines have been proven to be highly effective pain relievers and can be a safer alternative to chemical pills which often prove fatal to consumers.
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The researchers used an online survey to understand the effect of medical marijuana on patients already used to opioids.
Participants were asked to complete “two hypothetical purchase tasks in which only grams of cannabis or units of participants’ index opioids were available for purchase, and two hypothetical tasks in which both were concurrently available and the price of one drug increased whereas the other was kept constant”, according to the report.
They found that demand intensity was significantly reduced and that demand elasticity significantly increased for both cannabis and opioids when the alternate commodity was available, although the reductions in cannabis consumption were more pronounced than they were for opioid consumption in the presence of the alternate commodity.
A similar study conducted by PLOS Medicine also concluded that adults who take prescribed medical marijuana were 50 percent less likely to use opioids every day.
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The study said that, “We observed an independent negative association between frequent cannabis use and frequent illicit opioid use among people who use drugs with chronic pain.”
The U.S. has for long faced an opioid epidemic, which may be largely led by overprescribing painkillers by the doctors.
Several reports have been published on the health hazards posed by continuous opioid addiction and it is believed that more than a hundred people die each day in America alone due to opioid overdose.
Thus, by supplanting the use of cannabis as an alternative in treating pain among patients could help them be less opioid dependent and even overcome their addiction.
The researchers said that further studies were required to come to a conclusive assessment about marijuana replacing opioid as a safer alternative.