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Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction: Promising Signs for Patients


image of opioid pills

The United States in general, and Pennsylvania in particular, are currently in the middle of an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.  To help combat this, dispensaries like Solevo Wellness will provide medicinal marijuana as a healthier pain relief alternative for qualified patients. This can lower the risk of opioid addiction and cut down on tragic deaths associated with overdose.

Reports from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The National Cannabis Industry Association have shown that medicinal marijuana can be used effectively to treat patients with selected types of chronic or severe pain syndromes, while also decreasing dependence on opioids. Opioids are drugs used to decrease pain, and include both prescription pain relievers like oxycodone as well street drugs like heroin. They can be highly addictive, and in 2014 were responsible for the deaths of more than 28,000 people in the United States. That means that more people died from heroin and other opioid overdoses than from car crashes.

In their report, the NCIA cites these encouraging findings from the American Headache Society: “A 2015 review of 38 randomized controlled trials evaluating cannabinoids in pain management found that in 71 percent of the studies cannabinoids had empirically demonstrable statistically significant pain-relieving effects”. The full article from the NCIA on medical marijuana and opioid addiction is available here.

The report from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center tackles similar issues, focusing on the impact that medical marijuana has had on states that have legalized it. Marcus Bachhuber, of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, The University of Pennsylvania, and the lead author of the study, says “In absolute terms, states with a medical marijuana law had about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed.” That number becomes even more significant when you learn that in 2016 the level of opiate overdose rose 37% in PA, resulting 4,462 deaths. The article goes on to describe the positive effects that medical marijuana, as an alternative to opioids, can have on chronic pain, while dealing with other symptoms like nausea or lack of appetite.

Opioid addiction is an extremely serious problem sweeping the nation. At Solevo Wellness, we are looking to combat this through healthier methods of pain relief.

Are you looking for more information on PA medical marijuana? You can check out our PA medical marijuana page and you can always get in touch with us and sign up for our email newsletter on our homepage. We’d be happy to answer any questions you or a loved one might have.