Canada: Rising Popularity Of Medical Cannabis Among Veterans Associated With Declining Opioid Use

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 9, 2016

    for_painRising rates of medical cannabis use among Canadian military veterans is associated with a parallel decline in the use of prescription opiates and benzodiazepenes, according to federal data recently provided to The Globe and Mail.

    According to records provided by Veterans Affairs Canada, the number of veterans prescribed benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Ativan, and Valium) fell nearly 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, while veterans’ use of prescription opiates declined almost 17 percent. During this same period, veterans seeking federal reimbursements for prescription cannabis rose from fewer than 100 total patients to more than 1,700.

    Canadian officials legalized the use of cannabis via prescription in 2001.

    While the data set is too small to establish cause and effect, the trend is consistent with data indicating that many patients substitute medical cannabis for other prescription drugs, especially opiates.

    Prior assessments from the United States report that incidences of opioid-related addiction, abuse, and mortality are significantly lower in jurisdictions that permit medicinal cannabis access as compared to those states that do not.

    9 responses to “Canada: Rising Popularity Of Medical Cannabis Among Veterans Associated With Declining Opioid Use”

    1. warren says:

      When Canada makes cannabis legal will the Fudds build a wall?

    2. Julian says:

      Imagine every soldier smoking weed
      And bein freed
      From the greed
      Of the opiate pharmaceuticals
      The VA feed

      Whose the biggest dealer on the block?
      Pfizer pumpin pills or the crackhead slingin rock?
      Through playin knock-knock
      Were through with the talk
      So many veterans commitin suicide
      Too many still on lock

      Ain’t got all afternoon to read
      The side effects that they bleed
      Like a politician mislead
      When all we need
      We concede
      Is some love
      And some marijuana seed

      Congress take heed,
      About to start a stampede
      they hate breed
      Until we vote in the true creed
      Let the Wounded take the lead
      We march in peace
      But we might give Chuck a nosebleed

      Demoralizing war
      Insurgent conflict
      When the war at my door
      Turns me into a convict

      The insurgents are us
      And the war is within
      We demand marijuana
      N let the healing begin

      We made the sacrifice
      Took the bomb,
      Took the oath,
      Let’s turn this PTSDisorder
      Into PTSGrowth

      • Julian says:

        We’re through playin knock-knocks
        While Congress plays talk-talks
        It’s time we walk the real walks
        Weve got whole blocks on cell-locks
        When the capitol we should hot-box

        So many Veterans on opiate suicide
        Even Washmoney-Shultz can’t hide
        Investors cashing in on treatment
        While prevention takes a slow ride

        We’ll tell the Sherriff’s Associations
        Drop the prison populations
        In all the police stations
        NORML chapter compensations
        With margarita machines
        Just legalize the greens
        Union prison-guard fiends
        Can work for dispensareens

        Controlled Substance Act
        Turns cops into criminals
        With visions subliminals
        For this capitalist contract
        These are minimals
        See, vultures
        Break cultures
        With drug wars,
        Thats not yours
        Asset Forfeitures
        Fit the scriptures
        The evidence are legislatures
        Were still developing the pictures

        It’s time to unite
        N stand up for our right
        Don’t take the gains for granted
        For the green light is in sight

    3. Cajun dready says:

      If everyone taking pain killers and antidepressants switched to grass the healthcare system would be far less burdened; fewer overdoses and fewer addictions. Duh

    4. Dan O says:

      Julian the poet – well said! The love money is the root of all evil! That’s why cannabis is not legal. – yet.

    5. Todd says:

      Just say “duh”.

    6. mexweed says:

      “Why do you think they call it dope?” –80’s anti-cannabis ad

      Edward Kennedy Ellington or somebody said something similar to: “If it sounds similar, it means similar.” Why does “dope” sound similar to “opiate” if it doesn’t mean similar?

      Opiates are designed to make your body more stupid so you don’t feel the pain. As a commentator said last week on this blog, cannabis didn’t deaden his pain, rather it helped him manage it, by perceiving more accurately where the pain was and applying appropriate measures to address root cause!

      Which may include doing some Massage– I urge everyone to try a moderate-bristle-strength hairbrush or two, several times daily as needed, or right after a toke. To hell with pills!

    7. I was reading something talking about the DEA changing the SCHEDULE Classification of POT..iS THIS TRUE?? pLease help me to confirm

      [Editor’s note: On June 30th the DEA is expected to release a self-directed report on whether or not they’re going to recommend a down scheduling of cannabis.]