Alibi V.29 No.24 • June 11-17, 2020 

News on the Green

Study: Cannabis Patients Are Healthier

A new study claims that cannabis users report better health on average than non-cannabis users.

According to a press release from the Colorado-based Realm of Caring Foundation, the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research will be publishing a study that found that cannabis users self-reported better health, quality of life, pain, sleep, anxiety and depression compared with non-cannabis users.

Researchers with the Observational Research Registry initiative—led by Ryan Vandrey, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine—surveyed 1,276 patients for the paper. Cannabis patients involved in the study reportedly used fewer prescription medications and made less trips to the emergency room in the months prior to taking part. Patients in the control group who took part in medicinal cannabis use during the study period reported significant increases in health and quality of life.

The majority of the 808 cannabis users involved in the study reported using CBD-infused products, leading researchers to call for more study of the potential correlation between CBD and general health.

“This study shows clearly that cannabinoids have a very positive effect on health outcomes across the board among all age groups and demographics. This publication will be the first of many based on the detailed findings of this extensive dataset,” said Realm of Caring CEO, Jonathan Hoggard.

States With Medical Cannabis See Lower Opioid Prescriptions

Cannabis was once again cited as a possible treatment for opioid addiction. A recent report found that states with medical marijuana have seen significant drops in opioid prescriptions.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, researchers at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center found that orthopedic surgeons in states with medical cannabis laws wrote nearly 20 percent fewer opioid prescriptions annually than before those laws were enacted.

The scientists analyzed nationwide annual Medicare Part D prescription drug data from each state. They compared that data with the states’ cannabis policies before looking for associations and found a 19.7 percent reduction in overall opioid prescribing by orthopedic surgeons in states with medical cannabis laws. Prescriptions for hydrocodone, a powerful opioid prescribed for pain management, dropped by around 72,000 daily doses annually in those states.

The researchers wrote: “Orthopedic surgeons are among the highest prescribers of opioids, highlighting the importance of providing nonopioid analgesic alternatives in efforts to reduce opioid use in the patient cohort.”

But the scientists also warn that the correlation should not be taken as conclusive evidence that cannabis use curbs opioid use at the individual level, since only population-level data was analyzed. “We could not make any conclusions about any direct effect of substitution of opioids for cannabis by patients on prescription trends,” the authors wrote.

According to the study, there was no significant association found between recreational cannabis legalization and opioid prescription rates.

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