Can Medical Cannabis Solve North America’s Opioid Epidemic?

Article by Carl Pietrusinski, Cannabis Life Network


With the Opioid Epidemic taking over North America, will Medical Marijuana dispensaries begin to replace pharmacies in providing adequate pain medication? It is seeming like more of a possibility, as scientists are allocating more time and money to study marijuana’s effects on pain, dispensaries are diversifying their medicinal products, and the American government is slowly changing its mind. With opioids accounting for over 75% of overdose deaths and the number rising each year, medical marijuana as a pain alternative is at least worth looking into.

  • What Scientists are doing
  • The Emergence of CBD
  • What the government is doing

Scientists are Taking Notice

Closer to Medicine than One May Think

Many scientists think marijuana as an alternative pain medication is worth researching. On a small scale study based around a Michigan dispensary from 2013-2015, there was a 64% decrease in patients’ opioid usage. The reasons varied based on each patient. However, many reported switching to marijuana because it had far less serious side effects compared to their prescribed opioid.

A large argument against medical marijuana is that it possesses no actual pain relieving components. However, science has proven that a myth. Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN) and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) have all been proven to possess pain relieving components. With scientists recognizing these painrelieving attributes and dispensaries providing a range of products with different levels of these components, marijuana is clearly showing its medical value.

A Natural Pain Killer

Products with high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), like tinctures and lotions (salves), have been emerging as the primary pain relieving medication for medical marijuana patients. That means patients don’t have to smoke anything or swallow a pill to get their medicine.

Products with CBD don’t produce the sense of Euphoria or “feeling high” like regular marijuana. Instead, CBD is effective in reducing pain, inflammation and discomfort. CBD keeps your body from absorbing anandamide, a compound associated with pain regulation. The one downside is side effects have been tough to figure out with some patients reporting nausea, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and irritability. However, no individual side effects have been medically determined yet. Also, when you compare these potential side effects with those of opioids — like liver damage, chemical dependence, constipation, abdominal distension and more, CBD seems like the wiser choice.

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