Wider Use Of Cannabis Therapy Could Reduce Prescription Pain Drug Deaths

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 3, 2012

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

    Physicians who prescribe opioid drugs to patients with neuropathy (nerve pain) ought to consider recommending cannabis as an alternative therapy, according to a peer-reviewed paper published online this week in the Harm Reduction Journal.

    “There is sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy for the use of (cannabis/cannabinoids) in the treatment of nerve pain relative to opioids,” the commentary states. “In states where medicinal cannabis is legal, physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. … Prescribing cannabis in place of opioids for neuropathic pain may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications and may be an effective harm reduction strategy.”

    The author notes that between the years 1999 and 2006, “approximately 65,000 people died from opioid analgesic overdose.” By contrast, he writes “[N]o one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis.”

    In clinical trials, inhaled cannabis has been consistently shown to reduce neuropathic pain of diverse causes in subjects unresponsive to standard pain therapies.

    In November, clinical investigators at the University of California, San Francisco reported that vaporized cannabis augments the analgesic effects of opiates in subjects prescribed morphine or oxycodone. Authors of the study surmised that cannabis-specific interventions “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.”

    Neuropathy affects between five percent and 10 percent of the US population. The condition is often unresponsive to conventional analgesic medications such as opiates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Full text of the paper, “Prescribing cannabis for harm reduction” is available online here.

    49 Responses to “Wider Use Of Cannabis Therapy Could Reduce Prescription Pain Drug Deaths”

    1. DKZ says:

      See the latest headline out of Corpus Christi.

      “Man sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday for possession of more than 11,000 pounds marijuana”

      Texas is going the wrong way!

    2. Buster Jones says:

      If never had a problem with marijuana as medicine,but when we start cutting the money the drug industry makes thay will come after us, but that’s the way it should be. Peace, Buster Jones Albany, Ga.



      What is required for people to come together consciously for their own benefit. Ano Ano: The Seed–The Classic Trilogy by Kristen Zambucka enlightens the audience to the core wisdoms of Hawaiian Spiritual Traditions. The title is quite fitting for the circumstance of present and the forum for the discussion as the consequence of a citizens incarceration for providing the greatest wisdom for increasing joy and comfort during the passage of birth old age sickness and death will be embraced within an appropriate consequence in time.

      Hence a great consideration to understand our collective situation is of the highest priority. Marc Scott Emery brings the wisdom of the seed. Jesse Ventura provides the clarity of the unlawful biological war used against North America in the Plum Island Conspiracy via TRUtv along with the Independent movie “Under Our Skin” showing the horrors and criminal results of this very sophisticated organic weapon empowered by the Marijuana prohibition.

      Thus the question of personal self respect and positions of response are forced upon collective society who choose to fight for any intelligent right to life.

      How ironic and necessary is it that the Cannabis Culture Crew is thurst into the position to play Citizen Cop to fix the greatest crime in our living history.

      In Western society we use money to reflect values — where is the money supporting intelligent living citizens prosecuting left over Hitler assassin doctors working for a captured administration?







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      By Virginia T. Sherr 7-31-05
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      The manner in which the current pandemic of tertiary Lyme disease, neuroborreliosis, has usually been handled— either angrily dismissed or strangely misdiagnosed–throughout the 30 years following its “discovery,” has blemished the historic excellence of modern American Medicine.

      Special to AOL News
      (May 28) — We’re in the midst of a terrifying epidemic, although you wouldn’t know it to talk to most doctors and health specialists.

      The disease is growing at a rate faster than AIDS. From 2006 to 2008 alone, the number of cases jumped a whopping 77 percent. In 2008 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 28,921 “confirmed” and 6,277 “probable” cases of the disease, but there could be as many as 420,000 because of underreporting.

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      But more important is the need for public health community to treat this disease like the epidemic it is, and start putting real resources into educating the public and the medical profession about how to identify it, treat it, and prevent it.






    5. Nancy Lee Garrett says:

      When are our elected officials going face the studies, that have proven Marijuana is not only safe but has very useful medicinal qualities? I have Glaucoma and Marijuana has helped my eyes tremendously. Yet, I can’t get medical marijuana. One doctor told me go ahead and smoke it but not to quote him. He went on to say he would never give me a prescription for it, not until they legalize it. Consequently, I have to pay very high prices on the black market for Marijuana.

    6. […] Could Reduce Prescription Pain Drug Deaths By Thurman, on January 3rd, 2012 (SOURCE: NORML) Physicians who prescribe opioid drugs to patients with neuropathy (nerve pain) ought to consider […]

    7. Joel : the other Joel says:

      I want to hear what Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, has to say about that, but I would really like to hear what president Obama has to say?

      Is he running for re-election?

    8. mikey amor says:

      NJ needs to get on the good foot with its medical practice my girl miss doloinc is suffering from premature signs of ovarian cancer pain pills keep making her sick and she can still feel her pain. She can’t take then as with I and depression pills marijuana helps deal with real cancer pain and stress dissorders(from my mother passing away infront of me) Stop Being So Thick Headed. NJ PEOPLE NEED THIER MEDICINE AND WANT YOU YO BECOME RICH ON IT. STOP OUR PAIN!!!!!!

    9. fishcreekbob says:

      Opiates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs don’t touch the 8-10 24/7 pain but one joint a day keeps the pain away. Keeps my uncontrolable blood pressure down too.

      Cannabis laws are crimes against humanity.

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