The Journal of Pain, outlines how cannabis helped provide pain relief when used as an adjuvant medication for cancer patients with pain that responded poorly to opioids. When patients begin to consume cannabis, there was a clear drop in the amount of prescribed medications taken, such as antipsychotics, pain relievers and others. These drugs have big time side effects.
Another recent study has from the University of Pennsylvania looked at the incidence of opioid-related deaths in states that have legalized medical marijuana. They reasoned that since pain control is a major reason why people use medical marijuana, states that have legalized or decriminalized the herb might have lower rates of opioid-related deaths. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Contrary to popular belief, about 60 percent of overdoses occur in people prescribed the drugs by a single physician, not in those who “doctor shopped” or got them on the black market. And a third of those people were taking a low dose. That just doesn’t happen with marijuana.
The team analyzed medical marijuana laws and 10 years’ of death certificates from the entire United States. They discovered that, in states that allowed medical marijuana, the overall average annual death rate from opioid overdose was almost 25% lower than it was in states where medical marijuana remained illegal. The relationship also grew stronger over time. When average death rates were looked at on a year-to-year basis, the researchers found that deaths from opioids decreased by an average 20% in the first year of medical marijuana legalization an by 25% by the second year. In the third year, it was up to 33% and by the fifth and sixth years after medical marijuana was legalized.