Medical Marijuana Treatment and Opioid Addiction
The Opioid Epidemic
Opioids are a popular prescription for hard-to-manage pain. The trouble is that opioid use can be dangerous.
Over the years, doctors and lawmakers have recognized the downfalls of prescribing opiates. The use and abuse of these drugs have given rise to the opioid epidemic, which causes 130 deaths each day in the United States alone.
With opioid prescriptions being the leading cause of new opioid addictions, a safer, less addictive painkiller is needed.
Experts are optimistic that medical cannabis could pose a safer alternative to addictive opioid drugs. Because cannabis can relieve pain and appears to be safe for prolonged use, the hope is that it might be used in place of harmful opiates.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Opioid Addiction?
Researchers have begun researching the impact of medical marijuana on opioid use and addiction.
In a recent study conducted at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, researchers found promising results. From 2006 to 2014, researchers examined the impact of medical marijuana on opioid use.
During this time, they found that medical cannabis availability was tied to:
Lower overall opioid use
Lower chronic opioid use
Lower high-risk opioid use
By reducing chronic and high-risk opioid use, there is a chance that cannabis might help to slowly lessen opioid addiction and deaths.
This study is just one of many that report similar findings.
An Israeli study found a decrease in opioid use in cancer patients following treatment with medical cannabis.
A study in the US discovered fewer opioid prescriptions for Medicare Part D participants following medical cannabis laws.
A study in the US found fewer opioid prescriptions for Medicaid enrollees following both recreational and medical marijuana laws.
These studies suggest that legal cannabis might help to mitigate the current opioid crisis in the United States and around the world.
Has Medical Marijuana Reduced Opioid Addiction In Arkansas?
Opioid use in Arkansas is some of the highest in the country. In 2018, there were more opioid prescriptions in Arkansas than there were residents in the state. In fact, the number of opioid prescriptions written was nearly twice that of the national average.
This begs the question, has cannabis availability led to a reduction in opioid prescriptions and use in Arkansas?
As of today, it is too early to tell. It has been less than one year since the first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors in Arkansas. As such, there hasn’t been enough time to conduct a study examining the relationship between cannabis legality and opioid use.
But if the patterns found in other states hold true for Arkansas, the state will hopefully see a decrease in opioid drug prescriptions. We will keep you updated once studies are released that examine marijuana’s impact on opioid use in Arkansas.
How Can I Get My Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card?
Arkansas Marijuana Card understands that the medical marijuana laws in Arkansas can be confusing, so we take all of the guesswork out of it for our patients. Our friendly support staff will carefully walk you through the entire process, from helping you collect your medical records before your appointment, to ensuring your application has been submitted properly to the State. Also, we have the most affordable pricing options anywhere in the state of Arkansas!
Please give us a call at (844-249-8714) today if you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment.