“The results from this preliminary study showed a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications.
Today, opioid-related drug overdoses are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the US killing approximately 100 every day. Conventional medications for treating opioid addiction, such as methadone and buprenorphine [Subutex]-tapering, can be similarly dangerous due to substantial risks of lethal drug interactions and overdose.”
The researchers noted that the “results highlight the necessity of more extensive research into cannabis as a substitute for opioid painkillers, especially in the form of placebo-based, randomized controlled trials and larger sample observational studies.”
“By the end of the observation period, the data showed MCP enrollment was associated with a 17 times higher age- and gender-adjusted odds of ceasing opioid prescriptions, a 5 times higher odds of reducing daily prescription opioid dosages, and a 47 percentage point reduction in daily opioid dosages relative to a mean change of positive 10 percentage points in the non-enrolled patient group.
Survey responses indicated improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and few negative side effects from using cannabis one year after enrollment in the MCP.”
The low toxicity and capacity for self-management and dose titration by patients also indicated that cannabis should also prove to be very cost-effective compared to the total costs of managing highly addicting opioids.
The New Mexico medical cannabis program, now 7 years old, currently has 48,000 active patients.
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See full article – Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction