Cannabis vs. Opioids: Which One Treats Chronic Pain Better?

Americans are hurting.

In a 2015 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 25.3 million adults reported experiencing chronic pain every single day, which is approximately 11.2 percent of the U.S. population. Additionally, 126 million people reported experience some sort of pain.

Although prescription opioid painkillers are considered the most popular solution to the health condition, doctors have long shown concerns that opioids aren’t actually helping patients. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing opioids to non-opioid (e.g. ibuprofen and Tylenol), treatment with opioids was not better than treatment with non-opioids for “improving pain-related function over 12 months.” In 2016 alone, more than 64,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdoses.

However, it seems like more and more doctors are turning to cannabis to treat chronic pain. In a study in Israel published this past February in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, which followed 2,970 cancer patients who were treated with medical marijuana for chronic pain between 2015 and 2017, 95.9 percent reported an improvement in their condition, and the rest experienced a substantial reduction in pain.

In the beginning, 52.9 percent of patients had rated their pain between 8 and 10 (out of 10). After six months of being on the treatment, the number reporting that the level of pain had decreased to only 4.6 percent.

In fact, patients are starting to seek out the benefits of the plant on their own—and are safer as a result. In a 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the rate of deaths from prescription drug overdoses is 24 percent lower in states where medicinal cannabis is legal.

Contact New Jersey Alternative Medicine for more information about medical cannabis treatment today.