'A new study has shown how cannabis could be an effective treatment option for both pain relief and insomnia, for those looking to avoid prescription and over the counter pain and sleep medications – including opioids.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, which looked at 1,000 people taking legalized marijuana in an American state found that among the 65% of people taking cannabis for pain, 80% found it was very or extremely helpful.
This led to 82% of these people being able to reduce, or stop taking over the counter pain medications, and 88% being able to stop taking opioid painkillers.
74% of the 1,000 interviewees bought it to help them sleep – 84% of whom said the marijuana had helped them, and over 83% said that they had since reduced or stopped taking over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids.
The study suggests that cannabis could lower opioid use. However, the researchers caution that more needs to be done to understand the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
“Approximately 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain, and one in three adults do not get enough sleep,” says Dr Gwen Wurm, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Traditional over the counter medications and painkillers can help, however they may have serious side effects. Opioids depress the respiratory system, meaning that overdoses may be fatal.
“People develop tolerance to opioids, which means that they require higher doses to achieve the same effect,” says Dr. Julia Arnsten, Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “This means that chronic pain patients often increase their dose of opioid medications over time, which in turn increases their risk of overdose.”
Although less common, sleeping pills can lead to dependence, and can also cause grogginess the next day, interfering with people’s work and social lives.
As a consequence, some people are looking to marijuana to help with their symptoms.
To find out more about these users, Wurm and her colleagues used survey data from people who purchased cannabis from two retail stores in Colorado, US, where it is legal for both medical and recreational use – meaning any adult over 21 with a valid government ID may purchase product.'
Read more: Marijuana Could Be An Effective Alternative To Pain And Sleep Prescription Medications
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