After decades of prohibition, 37 states now allow their citizens to use cannabis for medical purposes. Research has found that the plant is capable of alleviating a variety of medical conditions with few side effects. As a result, millions of people across America have begun using cannabis to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.
The surge in cannabis popularity began as people became more aware of the risks associated with opioid use. Although opioids have proven to be instrumental in treating chronic pain conditions, their side effects can be quite severe, ranging from nausea, vomiting and constipation to physical dependence and addiction.
The opioid crisis has taken hundreds of thousands of lives over the past two decades and cost the United States trillions of dollars. Consequently, patients are becoming wary of using opioids to alleviate pain, especially those who have witnessed or experienced side effects firsthand. Cannabis, which has similar pain relief effects without the severe side effects, has proven to be an attractive alternative.
A recent study by Florida State University College and Emerald Coast Research has revealed that medical cannabis reform can help address the opioid crisis by allowing patients to use fewer pharmaceutical opioids in favor of medical marijuana. Researchers from the two institutions asked medical marijuana patients about their cannabis consumption habits and how using cannabis had affected their intake of pharmaceutical drugs.
An estimated 90% (9 in 10) of the patients revealed that cannabis had been “very or extremely helpful” in treating their condition, and 88.7% said that the plant was very important to sustaining their quality of life. In a press release, researcher Carolyne Pritchett said that plenty of people take opioids for pain medication and that if there is an option with reduced risk of overdose and death, it should be considered.
The study was partly funded by Trulieve Cannabis Corp and published in the journal “Substance Use and Misuse.” Pritchett concedes that although cannabis could be a suitable replacement for opioids, we still need more research and studies that follow patients over time to determine if there are any side effects of substituting opioids with cannabis.
According to the study, 68.7% of the participants experienced at least one side effect, with the most common ones being increased appetite, drowsiness and dry mouth. Researchers concluded that the use of prescription pain medications could be reduced or even eradicated, especially for patients who suffer from chronic pain, by substituting them with medical cannabis.
As the use of medical cannabis becomes widespread across the country, there is a chance that home-grow equipment such as the grow pods sold by Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) will proliferate and fewer people will solely depend on store-bought marijuana products.
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