Blue Flower

The U.S. Government National Institure of Health NIDA, the National Instiute of Drug Abuse released a update concerning medical marijuana and dispensaries related to the decrease of opioid use and overdoses.  Ohio Patient Network applauds the NIDA for recognizing and making this statement. 

"NIDA funded two recent studies that explored the relationship between marijuana legalization and adverse outcomes associated with prescription opioids. The first found an association between medical marijuana legalization and a reduction in overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers, an effect that strengthened in each year following the implementation of legislation.78 The population-based nature of this study does not establish a causal relationship or give evidence for changes in pain patient behavior.79,80

The second NIDA-funded study, a more detailed analysis by the RAND Corporation, showed that legally protected access to medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with lower levels of opioid prescribing, lower self-report of nonmedical prescription opioid use, lower treatment admissions for prescription opioid use disorders, and reduction in prescription opioid overdose deaths.81 Notably, the reduction in deaths was present only in states with dispensaries (not just medical marijuana laws) and was greater in states with active dispensaries.

Research into the effects of cannabis on opioid use in pain patients is limited, but data suggest that medical cannabis treatment may reduce the dose of opioids required for pain relief.82,83 In addition to its research portfolio on the roles of the cannabinoid and opioid systems in pain, NIDA is funding additional studies that will provide data relating to medical marijuana and opioids: 

  • effects of access to medical marijuana on substance use, including nonmedical use of prescription opioids (project numbers DA031816-05DA039293-01A1DA037341-02DA032693-04)
  • mental and physical functioning of a cohort of pain patients seeking medical marijuana treatment (DA033397-03)
  • the impact of medical marijuana policies on health outcomes (DA034067-03)

Another recent study analyzed Medicare prescription drug coverage data and found that availability of medical marijuana significantly reduced prescribing of medications used for conditions that medical marijuana can treat, including opioids for pain.84Overall savings for all prescription drugs were estimated to be $165.2 million in 2013."

NIDA missiion is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.

Source NIH- National Institute on Drug Abuse  (NIDA)