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FSU Study: Cannabis Looks Like a Substitute for Opioids

6-FSU Study: Cannabis Looks Like a Substitute for Opioids

We are always on the lookout for new study data demonstrating whether Medical Cannabis is a truly effective medicine. We are happy to report that a recently released study out of Florida State University (FSU) seems to suggest that cannabis is a possible substitute for opioids as pain medications.

If subsequent studies find the same thing, we will not need to say just how big it will be. Anyone who has used opioid pain medications and had a bad experience would probably welcome an alternative painkiller. If that alternative is cannabis, then having more than three-dozen states with Medical Cannabis programs in place puts us ahead in the game.

More About the Study

The survey study asked some 2,100 participants about their use of both opioid medications and Medical Cannabis. Researchers gathered data on patients using cannabis to treat:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • pain
  • PTSD.

Not surprisingly, nearly 89% of the respondents said that medical cannabis consumption was “important to their quality of life.” They said it was either “very” or “extremely” helpful in treating their conditions.

We should also point out that more than 60% of the respondents had been taking opioid medications prior to being offered Medical Cannabis. Some 79% were able to either reduce or completely eliminate the opioids.

All of that is good news, but we’re not done yet. The survey also showed that:

  • 86% reported cannabis helped reduce their pain
  • 84% reported that their pain was no longer interfering with normal activities as much as it did prior to using cannabis.

The primary side effects reported by survey respondents included drowsiness, dry mouth, and increased appetite.

A Pretty Definitive Study

As far as observational studies go, this was pretty definitive. It’s not like we’re hovering on the border at 50-50. We are talking percentages in the high 80s which, under most circumstances, would amount to definitive proof. The only reason we cannot deem this study conclusive is its observational nature. We need clinical studies to do that.

Still, the study gives us a lot of confidence in helping patients who come to us with using Medical Cannabis to manage chronic or acute pain. While we’re talking about it, let’s discuss acute pain in more detail.

Added to the List in 2022

If you are not intimately familiar with Utah’s qualifying conditions list, you should know that acute pain was added during the 2022 legislative session. Acute pain can now be treated with Medical Cannabis under certain circumstances.

We will not get into the details here but imagine scheduling knee replacement surgery for later this year. As long as your medical provider was willing, and your circumstances met the conditions, you could utilize Medical Cannabis during your recovery as a substitute for opioids.

We think that’s huge. Why? Because we have talked to a lot of patients who have come looking for their Medical Cannabis Cards because they were tired of the way opioids made them feel. Given the highly addictive nature of most opioids, recommending cannabis as a substitute for opioids seems like a no-brainer.

A Good Way to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic has practically disappeared from our cultural radar. If nothing else, the FSU study is a reminder that the opioid epidemic still exists. It also provides compelling evidence that Medical Cannabis can be an amazingly effective tool in fighting the opioid problem.

If you are currently taking opioid meds and would rather find an alternative, make an appointment to visit any one of our clinics. We can help you obtain your Medical Cannabis Card so that you can take an honest shot at getting off those opioids.

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Published November 15, 2022

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