America is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, with overdose rates at an all time high. For the last decade, there has been a huge increase in opioid prescriptions in America.
One of the most popular opioid pharmaceutical drugs in America is hydrocodone. It is estimated that Americans use 99% of the world's supply of hydrocodone.
America's disproportionate use of opioids is not just confined to one type of drug. Americans are prescribed opioids at a rate of six times the rate compared to France and Portugal.
With statistics like that, and given how harmful pharmaceutical opioids are, it is easy to see why America is experiencing the overdose rate that it currently is seeing.
Many people that start out with an opioid prescription end up moving on to heroin use due to its high availability and low cost. Sadly, that use often results in death.
America leads the world with drug overdoses, with rates increasing from 17,000 reported deaths in 1999, to a heart-wrenching 52,000 in 2015.
Public policy makers have been scrambling to try to figure out how to combat the problem, with some wondering if medical cannabis can help.
Landmark study with inspiring findings
Cannabis company HelloMD, in collaboration with the University of California, conducted a study in which nearly 3,000 patients were asked about medical cannabis use and how it affected their opioid consumption rate.
The study came up with the following key findings:
- 97% "strongly agreed/agreed" that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis
- 92% "strongly agreed/agreed" that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition
- 81% "strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking cannabis with opioids. The results were similar when using cannabis with non-opioid based pain medications.
Those findings are nothing short of inspiring, and cannot be shared with people enough. As the study points out, 91 people die in America from an opioid overdose every day.
With so many Americans struggling with opioid addiction, many to the point that they eventually lose their life, the results of this study need to be shared with everyone that would benefit from the knowledge.
Recent study builds on other studies
The study conducted by HelloMD and the University of California is not the first to find that cannabis helps reduce opioid use.
A study from 2016 found concluded that “The treatment of chronic pain with medicinal cannabis in this open-label, prospective cohort resulted in improved pain and functional outcomes, and a significant reduction in opioid use.”
Another study from 2016 found that “Among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started medical cannabis.”
A more recent study from earlier this year determined that “Among study participants, medical cannabis use was associated with a 64% decrease in opioid use (n = 118), decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life (45%). This study suggests that many CP patients are essentially substituting medical cannabis for opioids and other medications for CP treatment, and finding the benefit and side effect profile of cannabis to be greater than these other classes of medications.”
The growing body of research is all pointing to the same thing - that cannabis can help curb America's opioid over consumption problem.
Politicians need to recognize the facts
Many politicians, especially some in the current president's administration, have been demonizing cannabis for decades.
These politicians are quick to point out that America's opioid problem needs to be addressed, but seem to be unwilling to recognize the scientific fact that cannabis can help.
Politicians like United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made direct comments denying that cannabis can help with the current situation, despite overwhelming proof to the contrary.
Reefer madness politicians like Jeff Sessions still cling to the gateway drug theory, claiming that increasing safe access to cannabis will have the opposite effect that numerous studies have shown.
If politicians truly care about Americans, and truly want to institute a comprehensive strategy to fight the opioid epidemic, they will put their personal opinions aside and look at the science which clearly shows that increasing safe access to cannabis will help.
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