If there’s one thing probably most Americans are aware of is that the opioid crisis is there, and it is continually killing hundreds of Americans every day.
According to data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 115 Americans die every day for opioid overdose. These deaths include the prescription of pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids as well.
The abuse of opioid prescription leads to approximately $78, 5 billion of “economic burden” in the U.S. every year, says estimates of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These costs include healthcare, lack of productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.
And how did this crisis start? What’s known is that late 90s pharmaceutical companies spread the word saying a medical community that their patients wouldn’t become addicted to opioids prescription to relieve pain. A third of the U.S. population suffered from chronic pain at that time. Of course, you all know what happened after that.
The medical community felt safe enough to go out and give opioid prescriptions to their patients in great proportions, which has led patients misusing these opioids. Until the medical community discovered that this medication was highly addictive, it was too late to change things.
Thousands of Americans die every year for opioid use and these rates just keep getting bigger. In 2015, 33,00 Americans died of an opioid overdose, while 2 million Americans were reported to suffer from disorders related to opioid prescription.
Although opioid is a highly addictive medication, it’s one of the few medications that can treat chronic pain an successfully alleviate patient’s pain. It’s not a crime to use it and it’s not wrong either, however, anyone who opts for opioids as a treatment for alleviating pain must be aware that 21 of 29 patients who use opioid as a treatment end up getting addicted.
The addiction rates are so big that the whole world is facing an opioid crisis. It is estimated that 26 to 36 million people are addicted to opioids in the world. However, it’s the Americans that have the highest rates of opioid use in the world.
Get medical marijuana card in New York. Recently both New York and Illinois approved marijuana as an alternative treatment for an opioid prescription. So, any patient living in those states with an opioid prescription can walk into a dispensary and purchase medical marijuana.
But isn’t marijuana a drug? And isn’t it addictive as well? In order to clarify this “How is cannabis different from opioids?” question, we are going to explain what it is, and it’s is effects on a person treating chronic pain as well.
Medical marijuana sales in Maryland tops $96M in sales driven by nearly 52,000 patients
What are opioids?
Opioids are a group of medications that act on the nervous system alleviating pain. The opioids are made from the poppy plant, or it can be made in a laboratory. Some of the most know opioids out there are morphine, fentanyl, and the drug heroin.
The opioids are one of the strongest painkillers that there is out there, but they, unfortunately, are also incredibly addictive if not used correctly.
If administered in small doses, the opioid can cause sleepiness. But if you use a larger dose, your breath and heart rate with get slower and it can lead to death.
Opioids are so addictive because people often feel pleasure after taking the medication, which makes them want it more and more until they become addicted.
There are safer ways to use opioids, and if you want to choose it as a treatment option make sure to follow all your doctor’s orders so that you don’t risk becoming addicted to the drug. This includes telling your primary care all the other medicine you are taking.
Marijuana for chronic pain
Marijuana is a plant that has been used as a therapeutic treatment for treating pain for 5,000 years. Its history as a treatment option for headaches and all types of pain have been reported over the years.
The herb used to be legal worldwide and people from different countries and continents enjoyed the benefits of marijuana. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, many countries started criminalizing it saying it was harmful to the body and all sorts of myths were created around marijuana.
Now, marijuana is entering a wave of legalization and people are finally benefiting from it’s medical healing properties again.
Different researches have been conducted about the effects of marijuana for alleviating chronic pain. A study even reported that marijuana is just as powerful as opioids.
Researchers of the University of Michigan conducted a study 2016 that reported cannabis consumption reduced the use of opioids in patients suffering from chronic pain by 64 percent. This study also reported that using marijuana increased the patients quality of life and also reduced side effects caused by other medications.
Marijuana is also way less addictive than opioids. Only 9% of marijuana users get addicted to the drug.
If you are thinking about treating your chronic pain, you may want to check with your physician first if marijuana is a better option for your treatment.