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Could medical marijuana help curb the opioid crisis?
05 April 2018, 01:00 | Marta Robbins
Medical Marijuana May Lead to Fewer Opioid Rxs
"It got prescribed so much that everybody taking an opioid for chronic pain was also taking gabapentin", Dr. Murphy told NBC News.
"This longitudinal analysis of Medicare Part D found that prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year from an average of 23.08 million daily doses per year when a state instituted any medical cannabis law".
A state advisory council says when lawmakers assemble for the 2019 legislative session, they should expand Texas medical marijuana policy to include more medical conditions and elements of the plant.
The other study looked at opioid prescribing nationwide for people using Medicare, which covers people 65 years or older and those with disabilities. The group says supporters have used the images of suffering patients to disguise their true aim of opening another market for their products.
Minnesota's findings are hardly unique.
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Texas dispensaries began selling cannabidiol oil treatments to patients registered with the state at the beginning of this year.
"Most opioid overdoses are associated with legitimate opioid prescriptions", researchers wrote. Though the study is limited in size, with only 16 subjects partaking since the start in January, Denise Brennan, the program's director, said numerous participants have experienced an increased quality of life.
In an on-going program in the Downtown Eastside, medical dispensary My Eden and the BCCSU are studying the effects of substituting street opiates with cannabis oil.
The studies didn't take the approach that other recent studies have, such as trying to determine if opioid addiction and overdoses can be mitigated by cannabis. They concluded, "Cannabis can decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids".
Another recently published clinical trial provides insight into explaining the physiology behind this relationship. Researchers assessed subjects' pain tolerance after receiving both substances separately or in concert with one another. One of those research projects at McMaster University has looked into how cannabis can be used as an "exit drug" for nearly 1,400 opioid users. They concluded, "Smoked cannabis combined with an ineffective analgesic dose of oxycodone produced analgesia comparable to an effective opioid analgesic dose without significantly increasing cannabis's abuse liability".
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