Could medical marijuana be the answer the opioid crisis? The New York State Department of Health is asking doctors who are prescribing opioids as a pain management drug to consider medical marijuana as an alternative. The opioid crisis is an epidemic. It is killing 115 Americans a day from fatal overdose. New York is working tirelessly to reduce that figure by urging health professionals to think about prescribing medical cannabis instead of opioids.
Medical marijuana is a proven pain management drug. It is an effective treatment resolution and can help reduce the opioid crisis if doctors started prescribing it more.
Marijuana VS Opioids
The chemical compounds found within cannabis, cannabinoids can be just as effective in alleviating pain. Those who turn to medical dry herbs end up needing fewer opioids said Dr. Hill an associate from Harvard Medical School. Opioids are a class of strong pain medication like OxyContin and Vicodin. When opioids are ingested, they bind to the opioid receptors in the body and create a state of euphoria. Opioids are highly addictive, and abuse of the substance can lead to addiction, severe heath consequences and potentially, death by overdose.
When people are placed on opioids, it is with a legitimate prescription from medical professionals for pain management. Medical cannabis may be that alternative to consider for some patients. Cannabinoids, which are the chemical compound found within cannabis bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, which are a member of an internal pain-relieving system. While it may not be possible to replace cannabis with all pain medication, it is scientifically proven that medical dry herbs can help ease chronic pain, neuropathic pain, muscle contractions, conditions like MS etc. More research must be done to know can medical botanical be as effective for other types of pain.
Steps to address the issue
Medical cannabis will not fix the opioid crisis alone, but it is a step in the right direction. Other steps like providing appropriate pain management, one free of opioids and better access to addiction treatments are simple and small steps in creating a safer world. It is imperative to remember that drug addicts are not the danger, the drugs are. Addressing addiction as a healthcare issue and not a social or economic burden is another way of ‘fixing’ the opioid crisis. After all, it’s good medicine, good policy and good politics that will fix the opioid crisis.