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Cannabis Shows Promise in Reducing Opioid Abuse

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New research suggests that medical cannabis could be even more useful in helping to solve the opioid crisis than traditional approaches.

According to Sci Tech Daily, studies being presented ANESTHESIOLOGY 2019 annual meeting show (which was held between Oct. 3-7 in Washington, D.C.) showed that medical cannabis could definitely be helpful in treating opioid abuse. This particular analysis reviewed seven different studies that looked at how cannabis can be helpful with decreased opioid overdose rates, decreased opioid use, improved quality of life and improved pain control.

“Overall the results suggest medical marijuana may provide some benefit in mitigating opioid misuse, but the studies were not randomized controlled trials comparing marijuana to a placebo, which is what we need to determine a true benefit,” said Mario Moric, MS, lead author of the study and a biostatistician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “There are other issues to consider as well, including side effects and the fact that these products often aren’t regulated.”

Asokumar Buvanendran, M.D., co-author of the study and chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Committee on Pain Medicine did noted however that there are still unknown factors when it comes to medical cannabis. “Long-term effects of medical marijuana are not known and haven’t been studied yet. Early clinical evidence suggests that marijuana might have detrimental effects on the brain,” he said.

The study found that there was a 29 percent reduction in opioid overdoses in states with medical cannabis and a 44-64 percent reduction in opioid use for chronic pain patients. This is very significant in showing what cannabis can do to help abate the ongoing opioid crisis.

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