Republished with permission from Weed News; Read the original article HERE.
Americans use opioids at an alarming rate. It is estimated that Americans consume 80% of the world’s opioids, despite only making up roughly 5% of the world’s population. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that over 30,000 Americans die from an opioid overdose every year. It’s a serious problem that needs to be properly addressed, and Congressman Earl Blumenauer thinks that cannabis can help.
Congressman Blumenauer has long been a champion of cannabis reform, all the way back to his earliest days as a state legislator in Oregon. Congressman Bluemenauer was a champion of Oregon’s 1973 decriminalization law, which was the first in the country. Congressman Blumenauer has either sponsored, co-sponsored, or strongly supported every pro-cannabis reform measure that has been introduced in Congress since he became a United States Representative. Congressman Blumenauer recently testified in support of medical cannabis as a safer alternative to opioids in front of the Energy and Commerce Committee, video footage of which can be found below:
Below are a number of studies which have found that cannabis can help reduce opioid use, courtesy of UncleCliffy.com:
“The treatment of chronic pain with medicinal cannabis in this open-label, prospective cohort resulted in improved pain and functional outcomes, and a significant reduction in opioid use.” – Haroutounian S, Ratz Y, Ginosar Y, Furmanov K, Saifi F, Meidan R, Davidson E. (2016)
“Among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started medical cannabis.” – Piper BJ1,2,3, DeKeuster RM4,5, Beals ML6, Cobb CM4,7, Burchman CA8,9, Perkinson L10, Lynn ST10, Nichols SD11, Abess AT12 (2017)
“Among study participants, medical cannabis use was associated with a 64% decrease in opioid use (n = 118), decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life (45%). This study suggests that many CP patients are essentially substituting medical cannabis for opioids and other medications for CP treatment, and finding the benefit and side effect profile of cannabis to be greater than these other classes of medications.” – Boehnke KF, Litinas E, Clauw DJ. (2016)
“All prescriptions for scheduled medications must be reported to the New Mexico Prescription Monitoring Program with opiates and benzodiazepines being the two most common. Based on these prescription records, patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program reduced the monthly average number of prescriptions, types of prescriptions (drug classes), number of prescribers, and number of related pharmacy visits. 71% of medical cannabis program enrollees either ceased or reduced their use of scheduled prescriptions within 6 months of enrolling.” – Stith, S. S., et al (2017)
“The growing body of research supporting the medical use of cannabis as an adjunct or substitute for opioids creates an evidence-based rationale for governments, health care providers, and academic researchers to consider the implementation and assessment of cannabis-based interventions in the opioid crisis.” – Philippe Lucas (2017)
“The majority of patients in this study believed that medical marijuana is a valid treatment and that it does have a role in reducing post-injury and post-operative pain. Those patients who used marijuana during their recovery felt that it alleviated symptoms of pain and reduced their opioid intake.” – Heng, Marilyn MD, MPH, FRCSC; McTague, Michael F. MPH; Lucas, Robert C. BA; Harris, Mitchel B. MD; Vrahas, Mark S. MD; Weaver, Michael J. MD (2017)