Answer: Yes. Not only have I seen patients first hand eliminate the opiates and opioids (synthetic forms of opiates) from their daily needs, but there are more and more scientific studies emerging about how medical marijuana can help reduce the need for opiates. Medical marijuana is a safe alternative for patients with chronic pain who are prescribed opioids by their doctor, and many patients have said that making the change to medical marijuana has given them their quality of life back.
Medical marijuana can replace a patient’s need for prescriptions such as oxycodone, Vicodin, and morphine, whether prescribed or obtained on the black market. Opioid prescriptions have skyrocketed in the past 20 years. In 1991 prescriptions for opioids like hydrocodone were around 76 million, and in 2013 that number reached 207 million. With that being stated, it is not very surprising that forty-four people in the United States alone die from prescription opioid overdose daily. And that is only prescriptions; this number goes up to 78 daily if you include heroine. Also, about 7,000 people are treated in emergency rooms in the U.S every day for accidental misuse of a prescription opioid.
This shows that medical marijuana is considerably safer than opioids. Nobody has ever been to the hospital for abusing marijuana, and nobody has ever died from overdosing on marijuana. You would have to consume 20,000-40,000 times the THC in a joint to be at risk of dying, and that is just about impossible. Medical marijuana also has limited side effects, and those include dry mouth, hunger, high moods, red eyes, fatigue, and occasionally blurred vision. Side effects of opioids are far more severe than this, including but not limited to, sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, addiction, digestive disorders, organ failure, drug interaction, breathing problems, and death.
Here at MJ Consulting LLC we have been collecting anonymous clinical research forms. This is a way to track how medical marijuana has been helping our returning patients without them needing to give us a verbal testimony. The results bring all of us in the office a lot of joy. One patient said “I have used very few ibuprofen within the past year and no Vicodin”. Another patient states “I stopped taking oxycodone”, and another patient said “I no longer take soma or gabapentin”. One of the forms that really caught my eye states “Off morphine, dilaudid, soma, fentanyl, and methadone”. These are just a few statements from the forms that we have collected.
When I asked our Clinical Coordinator, Josie, what she thought of medical marijuana reducing the need for opioids, she said “We have to look at the Arizona Board of Pharmacy Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program database for each patient that is certified for medical marijuana. The majority of our renewing patients show that they have not had any controlled substances prescribed within the last year, which includes opiates, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines, where in previous years they had been prescribed these.”
So, there you have it. Medical marijuana is a safe, smart alternative to prescription opioids. Not only is it safer, but it is a way to gain back your quality of life and control your pain.
Written by Megan G applications manager at MJ Consulting LLC. For more information stop by and our office at 8540 E. State Rt. 69, Prescott Valley, AZ. Attend our class every Monday starting at 11:00 am.
This article is for information only and is not medical advice. To seek medical advice, schedule an appointment with any of our four Natural medicine doctors or consultants.