Medical marijuana is a vital alternative to opiate painkillers

 In Medical Marijuana, MMJ, National News

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control noted over 25,000 deaths in 2015 from prescription opiate overdose with an estimated 1.9 million people dependent on these medications. CDC director Thomas Frieden said, “We know of no other medication routinely used for nonfatal conditions that kills patients so frequently.” And despite research showing that the higher the dose of an opioid the greater the risk of overdose and death, an investigation reveals that the opiate manufacturers urged doctors to prescribe stronger doses.

Since 1999, OxyContin and other painkillers are responsible for claiming more than 190,000 lives from overdoses. A 2014 study published in JAMA analyzed the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality rates. This study concludes that states with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate in comparison to states without medical cannabis laws, and these reductions in overdose mortality rates generally strengthen each year after implementation of such laws. With these facts in mind, the CDC has issued new guidelines to primary care physicians to dramatically curb the use of prescription opiates.

As an orthopedic surgeon, I see many patients who suffer from conditions that traditional treatments or surgeries can’t cure. The uncontrolled pain from these failed treatments leads many patients into opiate dependency for simple activities of daily function.


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