Study Finds Patients Prefer Cannabis over Opioids for Pain Relief

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SAN FRANCISCO–Results from a study of three thousand respondents have indicated the majority of patients suffering from pain-related conditions, when surveyed, felt they could lower or eliminate opioid use when using medical cannabis for pain relief.

The study was conducted in collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley, and HelloMD, a large community of U.S. medical cannabis patients (who also were polled for the study).


“The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States,” said Dr. Amanda Reiman, PhD, MSW, lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, and co-leader of the study. “The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid related overdoses and dependence. Cannabis has been used throughout the world for thousands of years to treat pain and other physical and mental health conditions.”

“Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid-based medications. It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids,” Reiman added in a press release statement.

Key findings from the study included:

  • 97 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis,
  • 92 percent “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition,
  • 81 percent “strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking cannabis with opioids. The results were similar when using cannabis with non-opioid based pain medications.

Dr. Perry Solomon, Chief Medical Officer and study co-leader pointed out data that has indicated cannabis use does not lead to opioid addiction. With these latest study results, indications are medical cannabis may actually be used to aid in defeating opioid addiction for chronic pain sufferers.

“The latest publication from the National Academy of Sciences clearly refuted the ‘gateway drug’ theory that using marijuana can lead to opioid addiction, instead finding evidence of cannabis having multiple curative benefits,” Solomon said. “Our study further substantiates this. Hopefully this will awaken the public, medical professionals, and legislatures to the fact that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive product, available to help fight the opioid epidemic.”

The study was led by Dr. Reiman, Dr. Solomon, and Mark A. Welty, Ph.D., NCC, LPCC-S, LSW, Kent State University, Adjunct Faculty, Welty Counseling and Consulting, CEO, The Village Network, Director of Research and Innovation, The Ohio Patient Network, Board of Directors.

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