Medical marijuana led to decrease in opioid use for chronic pain patients, study findsPosted by On

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Patients having access to medical marijuana for a longer duration led to a decrease in prescription opioid use, according to a study recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study looked at 8,165 chronic pain patients who receive long-term opioid therapy for pain management. Long-term opioid use puts patients at an increased risk for substance use disorders and overdoses, the study said.

The increased risk to chronic pain patients presented a need for a study on the use of alternative or companion treatments, using both opioids and medical marijuana. However, few studies on the use of medical marijuana with reducing a patient’s opioid dosages exist.

Patients were divided into two groups: those who received medical marijuana for 30 days or less, and those who received medical marijuana for more than 30 days.

“The results of the peer-reviewed study, Changes in Prescribed Opioid Dosages Among Patients Receiving Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain, New York State, 2017-2019, in combination with existing evidence, show that managing chronic pain with medical cannabis may reduce the opioid burden. This may, in turn, reduce the risk of illicit use and overdose for patients on long-term opioid therapy,” the study said.

The study was conducted by the New York State Department of Health, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Policy, and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) between 2017 and 2019.

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