2019 – 70,630 deaths from drug overdose in the United States (70% from opioids)
2020 – 90,000 deaths from drug overdose in the United States (75% from opioids)
1999 to 2019 – nearly 247,000 deaths in the United States from prescription opioid overdose
All Time – 0 Deaths from overdose
While a person consuming marijuana may experience side effects, there are no cases of death from overconsumption of either medical or recreational marijuana. In addition, recent data suggests that deaths from opioid overdose in states where marijuana has been legalized are showing reductions. So, while deaths from opioid overdose continue to climb, marijuana may offer an alternative to prescription painkillers.
Studies have been conducted that indicate marijuana may be an alternative form of treatment for pain where opioids have been previously prescribed.
Systematic Reviews Journal published an article in July 2020 detailing a study conducted by Babasola O. Okusanya et al, titled “Medical Cannabis for the reduction of opioid in the treatment of non-cancer chronic pain; a systematic review” This review found a much higher reduction in opioid dosage, reduced emergency room visits, and hospital admissions for chronic non-cancer pain by medical cannabis users, compared to people with no additional use of MC. There was 64–75% reduction in opioid dosage for MC users and a complete stoppage of opioid use for chronic non-cancer pain by 32–59.3% of MC users when compared to patients without additional use of MC.
Besides substituting for or even replacing opioids, experts also assert that cannabis offers a similar experience to opioids — euphoria, stress reduction — without the risk of overdose or death. So, while reducing pain effectively, marijuana can also replace the “feeling” patients get from opioids.
And, an added bonus, cannabis can effectively treat multiple ailments in addition to pain, something incredibly difficult to do with typical pain relievers and prescriptions. Marijuana can simultaneously treat anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other conditions the patient may also be experiencing.
According to the state Department of Public Health and Environment in Colorado, over 93% of those who use marijuana do so because they are in chronic pain. That is more than 87,000 medical marijuana patients just in Colorado using marijuana to help with severe pain. And, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), 5,461,491 medical marijuana patients are active in the United States. If numbers are similar in other states, medical marijuana could have a tremendous impact on the opioid crisis without denying patients much-needed relief from pain.
If you’d like to find out more about how medical marijuana might fit into your treatment plan, please contact The Healing Clinics for more information. Or, get started now by providing us with just a little more information.