Cannabis and Opioids

 We know opioids are a problem in America.  They have been over-prescribed, and under regulated for far too long, and too many Americans are suffering.  Meanwhile, we restrict access to fantastic alternatives, like cannabis.   


Case in point: Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population, but we consume 84% of global oxycodone (OxyContin) and 99% of hydrocodone (Vicodin).  There were 49,000 deaths from opioids in America in 2017, more than 2/3 of all drug related deaths. 

But here is the interesting news.  In States with Medical Marijuana Laws, there has been a 20-40% drop in deaths from opioid overdoses. (JAMA 2014).  In addition, Medicare spending was reduced by $165 million dollars in 2013, in states that had medical cannabis available. 

This has led to some very interesting cannabis advocates in Congress.  Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bi-partisan Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act (MEDS) in September of 2017, and though it is questionable whether the act will pass, it is clear that Senator Hatch is interested in medical marijuana for its effectiveness in fighting pain and thereby reducing the need for opioids.  Utah has one of the highest rates of opioid use in the U.S. 

In fact there are many Medications that patients can reduce and/or eliminate by taking natural cannabis medicine, including: 

  • Opioids 

  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) 

  • Steroids (for autoimmune conditions) 

  • Anti-anxiety meds 

  • Antidepressants 

  • Sleep aids 

One of the benefits of using medical cannabis instead of opioids or other pain reducers or drugs, is its low addictive qualities, and relatively high efficacy rate, as seen in this addiction chart.  

Written by: Christopher Boyer