A Shift in Pain Management: Medical Cannabis Use Rises as Prescription Pills Decline

medical cannabis opioid alternative study

A recent report has highlighted a significant shift in pain management trends, with medical cannabis use on the rise as traditional prescription pain pill usage sees a notable decrease.

The Changing Landscape of Pain Relief

The study, drawing on data from a survey representing about 250 million Americans between 2015 and 2019, reveals that medical marijuana use has climbed from 1.6% to 2.4%. Concurrently, prescription pain medication use has dropped from 33% to 27%. This shift suggests a growing acceptance and recognition of medical cannabis as a viable alternative for pain relief.

Medical cannabis is increasingly being viewed as an important alternative to opioids when managing pain. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal Substance Use and Misuse found that patients reported less pain and improved physical and social functioning after using medical cannabis.

medical cannabis opioid alternative study

Regulatory and Scientific Developments

The FDA has found ‘credible scientific support’ for marijuana as a pain reliever, with no evidence of ‘unacceptably high safety risks’ when used therapeutically. This key finding could influence the DEA’s rescheduling of marijuana and further legitimize its use in medical settings.

Despite these developments, there remains great inequality in the availability of pharmaceutical opioids for medical consumption globally. In North America, there are significantly more doses per capita of controlled pain medication than in regions like West and Central Africa.

Implications for Patients and Healthcare Providers

The evolving dynamics between medical cannabis and prescription opioids have implications for both patients and healthcare providers. Many doctors who prescribe opioids to pain patients advise against mixing opioids with cannabis due to fears of increased addiction and overdose risks. However, this stance may change as more research supports the therapeutic use of cannabis without significant safety concerns.

Patients are increasingly seeking out medical cannabis as a less addictive alternative to traditional painkillers. As access to medical marijuana expands, it could lead to a reevaluation of pain management protocols and patient care strategies.

By Amelia Brooks

Amelia Brooks is a seasoned senior content writer at CBD Strains Only, specializing in the cannabis niche. With a wealth of experience and a keen interest in the therapeutic properties of cannabis, Amelia brings a unique perspective to her writing. Her insightful articles aim to educate and inform readers about the latest trends and developments in the cannabis industry.

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