The nationwide epidemic involving addiction and overdoses using prescription painkillers is coming up more and more in media reports. People prefer marijuana to prescription drugs for many different reasons
People Prefer Marijuana
NFL players want to give it a try to replace opioids. Even the NFL is thinking about at least studying it. Older Americans want to try it for pain management. Some doctors also want to prescribe it more. Studies are everywhere on the issue.
But why? It’s actually not rocket science, but not all media reports run down the real reasons behind this quiet revolution taking place with marijuana vs. prescription medication.
So let’s do that now. It doesn’t take long to see how clearly medical marijuana for pain management at least deserves thorough research – immediately.
Reason 1: Marijuana is Not Physically Addictive
The phrase “opioid crisis” has become so common that it may have started to lose its impact on people. That’s not good. The numbers are worth considering again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 91 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose every day, including prescription drugs and heroin. The number of opioid-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999.
There’s no doubt prescription drugs are part of the problem.
“We now know that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths,” the CDC states.
Meanwhile, studies have largely found that people prefer marijuana because it is not physically addicting and is not a gateway drug.
Over the same time period that opioid-related deaths have quadrupled, the number of prescriptions for painkillers also have increased four-fold. Also, the CDC notes that during this time period, there has been no change in the amount of pain Americans report.
Meanwhile, the number of overdoes involving prescription opioids have more than quadrupled, the CDC reports.
Reason 2: Less Side Effects
The list of side effects from prescription opioids is depressingly long. The CDC maintains a list right here. It includes the fact that people build up tolerance to painkillers and must take more to achieve the same effect, a pattern that escalates usage over time.
Also, the CDC lists physical dependence as a major issue.
Other side effects include:
- Sensitivity to pain
- Lowered levels of testosterone, meaning lower sex drive, strength and energy
With marijuana, side effects can include the munchies and eating too many potato chips to satisfy them.
On a more serious note, some do experience anxiety when using marijuana, as well as an increased heart rate.
Even so, the side effects are nothing compared to those from prescription drugs.
Reason 3: Cost
You can’t flip through the channels without coming across a politician saying drug costs are too high. The problem there is that politicians have said that for decades, and the only thing that has happened is that drug costs have continued to increase.
Meanwhile, in some states people can actually grow marijuana plants to use for pain management. That’s a cost far less than that associated with prescription drugs.
Even those who visit a dispensary will spend less. In addition, less money will be spent through the government to cover drug costs. A study in Health Affairs found that the number of prescriptions paid by Medicaid dropped significantly in states where medical marijuana is legal. So cannabis saves not only costs to the patient, but the taxpayer.
Those are just three reasons that marijuana as a pain management tool needs more study. Is marijuana a miracle worker on pain? The fact is, no one knows for sure. The truth will only be revealed when the government relaxes restrictions on medical marijuana research and allows science to find the answers.