When 3,000 chronic pain patients were surveyed, they overwhelmingly preferred cannabis as an opioid alternative. Read PubMed Results
; Read PubMed Results
97% "strongly agreed/agreed" that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis
92% "strongly agreed/agreed" that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition
81% "strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking opioids.
Cannabis is opioid-sparing in chronic pain patients. When patients are given access to cannabis, they drop their opioid use by roughly 50%. This finding has been replicated several times from Ann Arbor to Jerusalem Boehnke KF, et.al. Read Pub Med
This opioid sparing effect is accompanied by an enhancement of cognitive function once patients begin cannabis therapy. This effect is most likely due to the fact that patients reduce their opioid use.
Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in not only opioid consumption, but also many other drugs including benzodiazepines, which also have a high incidence of fatal overdose. In states with medicinal cannabis laws, the number of prescriptions for analgesic and anxiolytic drugs (among others) are substantially reduced. Medicare and Medicaid prescription costs are substantially lower in states with cannabis laws.
CBD is non-intoxicating and is the 2nd most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD alleviates the anxiety that leads to drug craving. In human pilot studies, CBD administration is sufficient to prevent heroin craving for at least 7 days.
For seniors who have been on opioids for chronic pain there are alternatives. A holistic approach utilizes all modes of treatment: natural herbs, cannabis, aroma-therapy, acupuncture, physician therapy maintenance, and/or yoga. Utilizing a competent provider to assist with the correct medicinal cannabis product is essential for success.
Article by Ruth Hill, RN