Survey: Most patients report opioid-sparing effects after cannabis initiation

Tallahassee, Florida: The majority of patients registered with the state of Florida to access medical cannabis products report having reduced their use of prescription opioids, according to data published in the journal Substance use and abuse.

Investigators affiliated with Florida State University’s College of Medicine assessed health functioning before and after cannabis initiation in a cohort of more than 2,100 licensed medical marijuana users. Consistent with dozens of previous studies, the researchers reported that “the majority of participants (79%) reported either stopping or reducing pain medication use after [their] introduction to medical cannabis. Nearly 12% of participants also reported improvements in physical mobility.

The majority of patients surveyed acknowledged daily cannabis use, and most had little or no history of cannabis use prior to enrolling in the state’s medical cannabis access program.

The authors concluded, “The majority of Florida medical cannabis users surveyed described medical cannabis as helpful and important to their overall quality of life. Notably, a large percentage of patients reported improvements in the areas of physical functioning, social functioning, and bodily pain after starting medical cannabis. We also found that a significant number of patients reduced the amount of OBPM [opioid based pain medication] used after gaining access to legalized medical cannabis, with some patients specifically describing improved functioning in daily life as a result. …These data add to the growing literature suggesting that medical cannabis use may be associated with reduced use of opioid (and other) prescription drugs without reducing quality of life or worsening outcomes for health.

An earlier analysis of Florida patients, published last year by researchers affiliated with Florida Gulf Coast University, also reported that 65% of respondents reduced or eliminated their use of at least one prescription or over-the-counter medication. after starting their medical treatment. cannabis.

The full text of the survey, “Medical Cannabis Patients Report Improvements in Health Functioning and Reductions in Opiate Use,” appears in Substance Use & Misuse. Additional information on the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis can be found in NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.’

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