Home Living Healthy Addiction and Rehab Our Out of Control Opioid Crisis: Can Cannabis be the Cure?

Our Out of Control Opioid Crisis: Can Cannabis be the Cure?

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There are a good number of medical experts and addiction specialists who are prepared to argue that there is a solid case for considering that medical marijuana could provide a genuine cure for opioid addiction.

The use of medical marijuana is growing, and you only have to witness the number of marijuana dispensaries in Arizona and other states, to see this for yourself, but what are the pros and cons of this argument, and can cannabis really be the cure?

Treating chronic pain

Opioids and narcotics are the widely used drug of choice when trying to alleviate and treat chronic pain.


This widespread use continues despite the fact that there are some noxious side effects associated with opioids and narcotics used in this way. The CDC estimate that a staggering 44 people a day, die as a result of a prescription drug overdose, which seems like a heavy price to pay, whichever side of the argument you are on.

This is one of the compelling reasons why the use of medical marijuana as a viable alternative, is being put forward by a diverse range of medical experts as well as addiction specialists.

Helping to ease the pain

Cannabis has low levels of toxicity in comparison and is considered impossible to overdose on, so on the face of it, these two attributes would seem to suggest that the soothing power of cannabis could provide the pain relief required, but without the same inherent dangers attached.

It is also worth considering the fact that there are cannabinoid receptors located in some regions of your brain that can even possess the potential to alter chronic pain accordingly.

Fewer deaths

One of the most powerful arguments put forward in favor of medical marijuana as a viable solution for dealing with chronic pain, is the noticeable reduction in death rates within states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Research carried out by the University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins University, discovered that as many as 60% of all opioid analgesic overdoses occurred in patients who were known to have taken doses dictated by the prescription.

Comparing mortality rates with 13 states that permitted the use of medical marijuana, revealed a 24.8% lower mortality rate after the state laws were changed, which would seem to suggest that death rates could be influenced in a positive way, by extending the use of medical marijuana over opioids and narcotics.

It is worth pointing out that the rate of opioid-related deaths actually increased in all of the states studied during evaluation period, but it simply increased less in those states that permitted the use of medical marijuana, so there is still work to be done to tackle the death rates.

You will not find many dissenting voices amongst medical doctors that marijuana is likely to prove safer than opioids, and with some research figures demonstrating a positive influence in the reduction of death rates through its use, you may well expect an increase in its usage to deal with chronic pain.

Karen Powers works as a medical research assistant and spends much of her day in the lab. Karen enjoys writing and calls her articles her hobby. She is also a keen cyclist and Mom of two dogs.