Opioids are oral pill medications that are used to help relieve pain following trauma, burns, or a serious surgery. They also have use for patients with painful terminal diseases, such as cancer. Opioids are widely accepted as an efficient solution within the medical community. However, they do come with an alarming caveat- addiction.
Governments, medical associations, and patients themselves are beginning to take a stand on the opioid addiction epidemic. Meanwhile, a different pain solution is gaining popularity- medical marijuana.
How Medical Marijuana Is Helping With Pain Relief
As a society, the reality we are coming to is that Legalized Marijuana Could Help Curb the Opioid Epidemic. Marijuana helps patients with chronic nerve pain due to injury or surgery feel less pain and sleep better. The reason lies in its ‘cannabinoid’ compounds. There are over a 100 different cannabinoids, and each one has a different effect on the body.
Numerous studies are showing the positive effect marijuana is having on pain relief. A recent study showed the group who used medical marijuana experienced a decrease in physical pain, as well as helping lower anxiety, depression, and fatigue levels.
The compounds in cannabis making a major difference include Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the main chemicals used in medicine. THC cannabinoid binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CBD binds to many different receptors of the brain and can lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. The major advantage of using medical marijuana, is the lack of adverse effects marijuana has on the body. An increasing amount of patients are either reducing their opioid intake and incorporating, or completely replacing opioids with medical marijuana. It’s clear medical marijuana is ending the opioid epidemic.
The Opioid Epidemic
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, an estimated2.1 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. To make matters worse, according to an analysis from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Opioid addiction rates skyrocketed to nearly 500% in the past 7 years alone. What does this mean? There’s a high number of Americans currently using opiods, and many are addicted.
Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of Americans with addiction do not receive any specialized treatment to manage their addiction. There is a two fold issue with patients seeking help, and agencies offering solutions.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, less than half of private sector treatment programs offered any medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for substance use disorders, and just 23% of publicly funded treatment centers offered them.
Long term effects of opioid addiction include weakening the immune system, respiratory (breathing) illnesses, muscular weakness, partial paralysis, loss of memory and intellectual performance, insomnia, and many more.
When looking at the effects and data, it’s clear why medical marijuana is proving to be a more effective solution for so many patients.
Pushing To Make It Legal
The heaping evidence for the positive effects of medical marijuana are making an impression on lawmakers, doctors, and patients alike. As the opioid epidemic gets worse, it seems the push to inform the public on medical marijuana is reaching an all time high. The situation is serious, and lives are at stake.
Dozens of influencers are doing their part to speak out. Legally, numerous politicians are pushing to create easier medical marijuana access for all. Even confronting the cultural stigmas is important. Dr. Oz famously stated his support toward legalized medical marijuana.
People think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics. It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic, but we’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug, and I personally believe that it could help.
The states adopting medical marijuana are seeing the results first hand. For these states, they are seeing how marijuana is ending the opioid epidemic.
Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medicinal purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average.
An estimation of 60% of Americans now live in 1 of the 28 states where medical marijuana is now legal. If you are living in California or Nevada, you can get a medical marijuana card with PrestoDoctor online today. Not your state? Check back soon, as we are expanding to more states this year!Get Your Card Now