A recent article from Forbes reports on a study that showed a 30% lower rate of prescriptions for opioids in states where medical marijuana is legal. This is consistent findings with other studies that looked at this issue. Another recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed around a 20% decrease in daily doses of narcotics for Medicare patients where medical dispensaries were active. This is not surprising because cannabis and morphine work on similar pain pathways in the nerves and in the brain. Given the opioid crisis in our country, the compelling evidence for medical cannabis as a way to help reduce opioids can not be ignored. State lawmakers need to approve medical marijuana for all states. Federal lawmakers must remove the Class I label for medical cannabis to allow for more research and funding.
Matthew L. Mintz, MD, FACP