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Medical Marijuana Vs Opioids For Chronic Pain Relief

Marijuana vs Opioids

In the United States, chronic pain affects millions of people, limiting their ability to perform daily tasks. For years, patients are using opioids for reducing pain. However, in the past decade, marijuana use has become popular among patients suffering from chronic pain. And, there has been a significant increase in the number of MMJ recommendations by medical cannabis doctors Los Angeles.

Medical marijuana & opioids—which is a safe treatment for chronic pain? Read on to learn more.

Opioids & Marijuana For Pain Management

Opioids (narcotics) are beneficial in treating persistent or severe pain. Examples of opioids are—Oxycodone-acetaminophen (Percocet), Codeine, Hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Vicodin), Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Morphine.

Opioids drugs interact with the opioid receptors in different parts of the body such as the brain, spinal cord, etc. This reduces sending pain signals to the brain, thus relieving pain.

On the other hand, marijuana works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system that controls various functions such as pain, sleep, mood, memory, and appetite.

The cannabis plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, which have medicinal properties. The two important cannabinoids are-

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)- A psychoactive compound, which binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, and produces high or euphoric effects.
  • CBD (cannabidiol)- A non-psychoactive compound that can help in treating seizures, inflammation, nausea, depression, anxiety, and pain.
medical cannabis doctors los angeles

Which is Better?

The short answer is medical marijuana.

Although opioids can help in relieving pain, they can cause several side effects such as—trouble sleeping nausea, itching, breathing problems, and constipation. Moreover, they can be addictive.

However, cannabis use doesn’t have such risks. With scientific evidence that marijuana is a safe treatment for pain management, more patients are getting MMJ recommendations from medical cannabis doctors Los Angeles.

A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs analyzed 1000 patients who were using marijuana. Researchers found that 65% of them were using for pain relief, and confirmed marijuana was helpful. This led to 88% of the participants stopped taking opioids and 82% of them were able to reduce pain.

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy report says that marijuana is effective in chronic pain management, and it can replace addictive painkillers. A 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that states with medical marijuana laws saw about 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, between 1999 to 2010.

Moreover, researchers have reported that the reduction of opioid use led to saving $165.2 million per year in medical costs.

In conclusion, chronic pain is a common condition among Americans. Opioid drugs and medical marijuana are widely used for pain management. But, opioids can cause several unpleasant side-effects such as constipation, sleep problems, nausea, itching, etc. On the other hand, marijuana is a safe treatment, and it doesn’t cause side-effects. Thus, marijuana use among patients suffering from pain has significantly increased over the past decade.

When it comes to starting marijuana treatment for pain management, choosing the right strain is important. Some of the best strains for pain relief are—OG Kush, ACDC, Skywalker OG, Headband, Bubba Kush, Gorilla Glue, and Uncle Andy.

Talk to medical cannabis doctors Los Angeles to apply for your MMJ recommendations.

In light of the COVID pandemic, we advise all our patients to see a doctor online instead of visiting the clinic. Help us flatten the curve by opting for an online 420 evaluation.