New York: Patients Using Fewer Opioids Following Enrollment In Medical Cannabis Program

Medical marijuanaPatients enrolled in New York state’s medical cannabis program reduce their use of opioids and spend less money on prescription medications, according to data published online in the journal Mental Health Clinician.

Investigators from the GPI Clinical Research in Rochester and the University of Buffalo assessed trends in patients’ medical cannabis and prescription drug use following their enrollment into the state’s marijuana access program.

On average, subjects’ monthly analgesic prescription costs declined by 32 percent following enrollment, primarily due to a reduction in the use of opioid pills and fentanyl patches. “After three months treatment, medical cannabis improved [subjects’] quality of life, reduced pain and opioid use, and lead to cost savings,” authors concluded.

The study’s findings are similar to those reported among enrollees in other states medical cannabis programs, including the experiences of patients in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and elsewhere.

The full text of the study, “Preliminary evaluation of the efficacy, safety, and costs associated with the treatment of chronic pain with medical cannabis,” appears online here. NORML’s fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online here.

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