Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Opioid Use?

illinois marijuana and opioid useProponents of marijuana legalization for the treatment of certain medical conditions have contended that, in addition to treating certain symptoms, it would reduce the overuse and abuse of opioid painkillers. Following that logic, it would stand to reason that illegal possession of narcotics could also experience a decline in occurrence.

New Study Provides Some Evidence

The first peer reviewed study reporting on the use of medical marijuana in Illinois appears to demonstrate a reduction in the use of painkillers and other narcotics by those who participated in the small study. Primarily anecdotal in nature, the findings reported in the study indicated:

  • The average patient was 45 years old, and they used medical marijuana to treat pain, seizures, or inflammation.
  • Those cooperating with researchers qualified for medical marijuana use for management of pain related to a variety of conditions, including Crohn’s disease, spinal cord injuries or disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Participants reported that medical marijuana was faster acting and longer lasting in treating pain.
  • One patient indicated their marijuana use replaced consumption of 180 Vicodin per month.
  • Another shared that it allowed her to sleep pain free, without the mind-clouding side effects of prescription pain relievers.

The study, while admittedly small in size, was conducted by researchers from DePaul University and RUSH hospitals, and provided results similar to those of a study done by a team at the University of Georgia. A follow up study in the works has obtained responses from more than 400 medical cannabis patients living throughout Illinois. More than 25,600 Illinois residents currently have permission to purchase and use marijuana for the treatment of approved medical conditions.

Safer Than Opioids?

In 2016, it was reported that more than 1,800 people died in Illinois due to an overdose in opioids, with abuse reaching near epidemic levels across the country. However, a third study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that states with legal forms of marijuana reported nearly 25 percent fewer incidents of overdose deaths on an annual basis.

Find a Joliet Defense Attorney Who Knows Illinois Drug and Marijuana Laws

If you are facing drug charges in Illinois, the penalties may vary depending on the classification of drugs on your person, the amount in your possession, and your intent with those materials. It is important to work with a Will County drug crimes defense lawyer who not only knows the law, but has the experience you need to minimize the impact any charges may have on your life. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will use its extensive resources to build a thorough defense on your behalf.

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