Cannabis Reduces Prescription Drug Use


Published:

From 2000 to 2015, half a million people died from prescription drug overdoses. Stories continue to roll in daily about the lives claimed by prescription and non-prescription drug overdoses. Cannabis is not only excluded from the overdose drug list, but it reduces the use of dangerous prescription drugs.

Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, some classify it as one of the most important plants on earth. The biggest benefits from the plant may come not by smoking it, but rather by consuming it in its raw and natural form.

“If cannabis were discovered in an Amazon rainforests today, people would be clambering to make as much use as they could out of the potential benefits of the plant,” said Donald L. Abrams, MD, Chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University California. Dr. Abrams is widely known for his research on medical cannabis applications. “Unfortunately, it carries with it a long and not so long history of being a persecuted plant,” he added.

“The potential for addiction and health risks associated with using multiple scheduled drugs places additional direct monetary and health costs on patients and healthcare systems due to an increased number of side effects, risky drug interactions, dependency, and overdose” stated University of New Mexico researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil and Sarah See Stith, of a new study titled, Effects of Legal Access to Cannabis on Scheduled II-V Drug Prescriptions, which will be soon released in an upcoming issue of the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

The study resulted from insights provided by co-investigator Dr. Anthony Reeve, a pain specialist from the Industrial Rehabilitation Pain Clinics, Albuquerque, N.M. and also one of the first physicians to authorize the use of cannabis for patients with chronic pain in the state of New Mexico.

Reeve observed a number of his patients coming back to see him, not only less frequently after enrolling in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP), but anecdotally, they would often claim that they were not only reducing their pain medications, but other types of prescription medications as well.

In their historical cohort study the researchers compared individuals that enrolled in the medical cannabis program to individuals with a similar diagnosis that chose not to enroll in the medical cannabis program but were offered the same authorization, to measure the effect of enrollment in a state-authorized United States’ MCP on Scheduled II-V drug prescription patterns.

They compared 83 chronic pain patients, who enrolled in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program during a five+ year period from April 2010 to October 2015, to 42 non-enrolled patients over a 24 month period (starting 6 months prior to enrollment for the MCP patients) using the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Using outcome variables including baseline levels and pre- and post-enrollment monthly trends in the numbers of drug prescriptions, distinct drug classes, dates prescription drugs were filled, and prescribing providers, the researchers found that 28 cannabis program enrollees (34 percent) and one comparison group patient (2 percent) ceased the use of all scheduled prescription medications by the last six months of the observation period.

Age and gender-adjusted regressions show that, although no statistically significant differences existed in pre-enrollment levels and trends, the post-enrollment trend among MCP patients is statistically significantly negative for all four measures of scheduled drug medication usage, while the post-enrollment trend is zero among the comparison group. The cannabis program enrollees showed statistically significantly lower levels across all four measures in comparison to the non-enrollees by 10 months post-enrollment. The researchers hypothesize that legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations.

“Our current opioid epidemic is the leading preventable form of death in the United States, killing more people than car accidents and gun violence,” said Vigil, the senior author and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. “No one has ever died from smoking too much cannabis. Therefore, the relative safety and efficacy of using cannabis in comparison to that of the other scheduled medications should be taken by the health providers and legislators, and may very well to have been considered by the patients in our study.”

The authors state that increased patient access to MCPs could impact prescription drug activity in numerous ways. “Potentially, MCPs might drive increased prescribing of medications as a result of side effects of cannabis use, including agitation or somnolence. Alternatively, access to cannabis could lead to a reduction in scheduled prescription drug use, if it treats patients’ underlying condition(s) more effectively than scheduled drugs requiring a prescription.”

The researchers are currently employing naturalistic studies to identify how older patients use and are affected by opioids, benzodiazepines, and medical cannabis for treating significant and societally expensive health conditions.

This article was republished from Prevent Disease.

See also:
Confirming Big Pharma Fears, Study Suggests Medical Marijuana Laws Decrease Opioid Use
Bringing Cannabis Out Of The Shadows And Into The Light: An Interview With Cannabis Reform Leader Steve DeAngelo

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 16, 2018

Venus’ sextile to Saturn blesses peacemakers, diplomats and those seeking to shore up strained ties. It also reaffirms long time partnerships and enduring values. Take note of and compliment those who unerringly do the right thing. Inherent to all solid…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2018

Start your holiday week off right with a special yoga/meditation class. Sun salutations in honor of the winter solstice coupled with Yoga Nidra will leave you feeling rested, relaxed, and ready to...

Cost: $17

Where:
Yoga Anita
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA  01432
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga Anita
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Contact Name: Anita Perry
Website »

More information

The holiday season is a time for family and friends to gather, to give gratitude for the gifts of love that we share, and for us to create new memories to cherish in our hearts. But the holidays...

Cost: $65

Where:
Private Office
6 Royal Crest Drive
Apt 11
North Andover, MA  01845
View map »


Sponsor: Sacred Spiral Dance
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

Kinetic Chain Release, moxibustion and past life regression at Leapin Lizards. Every third Sunday: 9/16/18 10/21/18 11/18/18 12/16/18 For information, call Leapin Lizards at (207)...

Where:
Leapin Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME
View map »


Telephone: (207) 221-2363
Website »

More information

This three-part series attunes you as a conduit to the healing system of Kundalini Reiki, a firey earth-based feminine energy. Kundalini Reiki is a gentle yet powerful modality to channel healing...

Cost: $150

Where:
Akasha Studio
20 Birch Street
Roslindale, MA  02131
View map »


Sponsor: Miriam Katz, Shamanic Healer
Telephone: 617-545-5142
Contact Name: Miriam Katz
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events
No Events

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

The Shortest Day of the Year and the Longest Night To Be Without A Home On December 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM, at the Church on the Hill, 140 Bowdoin St. Boston MA  02108 (on the side of the...

Where:
Church on the Hill
140 Bowdoin St.
Boston, MA  02108
View map »


Sponsor: Interfaith Homeless Memorial Committee
Telephone: 617-523-4575
Contact Name: Kevin Baxter

More information

During this evening Winter Solstice Celebration we connect deeply with the Christ Being/Solar Logos and the different archangels as we prepare for the 12 holy nights following the Solstice evening....

Cost: $75

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your life, your education, even your work? Sit down...

Cost: $40

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress St
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags