Can Cannabis Halt the Rising Rate of Opioid Addiction and Overdoses?
A recent JAMA study finds that U.S. states with laws that allow patients to treat pain with medical cannabis had fewer deaths from opiate overdoses. It also finds that adding medical cannabis to a prescription narcotic regimen might decrease patients’ dependence on opiates. Given our country’s increasing rate of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, this is important news.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures report, “Of the 21.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers…” And if that isn’t bad enough, according to the report, “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18, 893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers…”
In December, 2015, The Huffington Post reported, “The rate of absolutely zero deaths from a marijuana overdose remained steady from last year, according to figures released this month by the Centers for Disease Control. But while Americans aren’t dying as a result of marijuana overdoses, the same can’t be said for a range of other substances, both legal and illicit.”
Countless studies have proven that cannabis has a palliative, pain-relieving effect for patients suffering from a range of conditions and diseases. No need to take our word for it. Just type “cannabis pain relief study” into a Google search bar and start reading. The day we searched, Google returned “About 468,000 results (0.22 seconds)”. While some results are more reliable than others, you’ll find the same message over and over: Cannabis, a non-addictive drug with no known lethal dosage, relieves pain and discomfort in patients allowed to use it.
We’ll leave you with one last thought. Canadian researchers reported in The Drug and Alcohol Review, that given the opportunity, 80.3% of the patients they studied chose to substitute medical cannabis for prescription drugs. Whether a patient choses to use medical cannabis to relieve his or her pain, however, is beside the point; that is a personal decision. What’s important is that all people should have the right to choose a non-addictive pain relieving drug with minimal negative side effects and no known lethal dose rather than being forced to relieve their pain with a prescription opioid.
We ask you, how can anyone with a conscience vote against legalizing medical cannabis, a scientifically proven, pain-relieving drug with no known lethal dosage? It’s time to make the medicine legal for all Americans, no matter where they live. We’re interested in your thoughts and experiences!