The results of a joint research study on the effectiveness of medical marijuana as compared to opioid drugs for pain relief indicate that the majority of patients prefer the former over the latter - to the tune of 81 percent of participants.
HelloMD, one of the nation’s largest community of medical cannabis patients, partnered with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, to examine how cannabis has affected Americans consumption of opioids. The results of the landmark study show that patients, given a choice, would overwhelmingly choose cannabis over opioid medication, saying the herb works just as well and with fewer side effects.
The researchers collected survey data from close to 3,000 participants, questioning their usage of cannabis and how it has affected their consumption of opioids.
New York Daily News highlights a few of the findings:
- 97 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis.
- 92 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition.
- 81 percent “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.
One of the study's authors, Amanda Reiman of the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, said in no uncertain terms that steering patients toward opioids must end and cannabis is a viable alternative:
“The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States. The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid related overdoses and dependence. Cannabis has been used throughout the world for thousands of years to treat pain and other physical and mental health conditions. Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid based medications. It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.”