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Marijuana: an alternative to opioids for pain relief?

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In recent studies that were reported this week, the answer to reducing the nation’s opioid crisis might be – marijuana.

Researchers compared states that had legal medical marijuana to states that did not. According to the study, the states that permitted medical cannabis had over 2 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed each year. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid dropped more than 5% in those states, as well.

Marijuana has been known to be effective in treating pain and other medical conditions.

Tom Carey, Director of Pharmacy at SwedishAmerican, said, “It actually does have effects that cause patients to feel better, whether it is because of pain or anxiety. So, as a result, just by taking it, pharmacologically speaking [marijuana] is an alternative to taking an opioid.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, on average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Health care providers and authorities from across the country have been struggling to help the thousands of people suffering from an opioid addiction. 

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