Has The Opioid Epidemic Met its Match?

Has the opioid epidemic met its match? Opioids have become a major problem in the U.S. and abuse of this drug has been labeled as a full-blown epidemic. Now, some people are turning to marijuana as their pain management go-to because the side effects can be less disruptive. But, as more people begin to realize that opioids aren’t the only option for managing pain, one question begs to be asked: Could the legalization of marijuana help turn America’s opioid problem around?

Survey says: possibly.

While many of us know that marijuana is helpful for treating a wide scale of issues, the United States hasn’t conducted enough scientific studies to admit the benefits. And let’s face it, our nation operates on results from studies. As Americans, we certainly seem to know a thing or two about pain often making the use of FDA approved prescription painkillers part of everyday life. Sadly, we can pretty easily find ourselves completely addicted to these strong drugs to deal with our aches and pains contributing to this dangerous epidemic.

In 2015, 30,000 people died as a result of opioid overdoses. That’s a lot of people who died from something that may have been prescribed by their doctors. As for deaths caused by marijuana overdoses, well…we couldn’t find any. Also in 2015, doctors in Massachusetts began treating hundreds of patients suffering from opioid addictions with medical marijuana, according to the Boston Herald. Dr. Gary Witman of Canna Care Docs treated 80 patients who were addicted to opioids, anti-anxiety meds or muscle relaxers and reported that 75 percent or more of those patients had stopped taking the harder drugs within one month of using a tapering program. This is life-changing for at least three-fourths of Witman’s participating patients.

When it comes to saving lives that may otherwise be cut short from opioid addiction, this is an encouraging finding regardless of the lack of strict scientific studies. As legalization, regardless of its nature, continues to spread, more people will begin to seek it out as a better alternative to some serious prescription drugs. Oxycontin, Hydrocodone and more could be ditched for pot by many patients as we learn that it is a safer pain killer which poses less threat and risk to its users than the alternative options. While the marijuana movement has been growing and evolving for some time now, it is clear that there is still so much untapped potential that will hopefully continue to make its way to the mainstream.

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