Scientific data is growing nearly by the day in support of the notion that legalized cannabis can mitigate opioid use and abuse.
For instance, among states where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely lessen their opioid intake. According to data published this week by the Minnesota Department of Health, among those patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”
Minnesota’s findings are hardly unique. In 2016 there was data gathered from patients enrolled in Michigan’s cannabis access program reported that marijuana treatment “was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use, decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life.”
A review of state-registered patients from various northeastern states yielded similar results, finding, 77 percent of respondents acknowledged having reduced their use of opioids following cannabis therapy.
A significant percentage of respondents also reported decreasing their consumption of anti-anxiety medications (72 percent), migraine-related medications (67 percent), sleep aids (65 percent), and antidepressants (38 percent).
A 2017 assessment of medical cannabis patients in Illinois revealed that participants in the state-run program frequently reported using marijuana “as an alternative to other medications — most commonly opioids, but also anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatories, and over-the-counter analgesics.”
New Mexico patient data reports: Compared to non-users, medical cannabis enrollees “were more likely either to reduce daily opioid prescription dosages between the beginning and end of the sample period (83.8 percent versus 44.8 percent) or to cease filling opioid prescriptions altogether (40.5 percent versus 3.4 percent).”
Two just-published clinical trials from Israel — where medical cannabis use is legally permitted — further affirm this phenomenon. In the first study, which assessed cannabis use among the elderly, investigators reported that over 18