Does marijuana help or hurt the opioid epidemic? There are arguments on both sides of the fence, and Integrated Pain Consultants is committed to offering the right pain management plan for patients with a conservative opioid strategy. A number of state governments are currently suing drug companies for allegedly utilizing misleading advertising about the benefits (and costs) of opioid drugs. Everyone is looking for a safer, non-addictive alternative and marijuana is a popular contender. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.
Pain relief is a noted side effect of many strains of marijuana, so it makes sense that both opioids and marijuana may be reached for when seeking pain relief. However, a lot of states that offer medical marijuana don’t allow chronic pain to be a reason for prescribed medical marijuana. There are many doctors who back this rule because long-term side effects of marijuana are largely unstudied (mostly thanks to the 1970 Controlled Substance Act).
Still, there are some studies finding a link between marijuana use for pain relief resulting in fewer deaths. One study featured in the Journal of Health Economics by David Powell, et. al., suggests that deaths and relationships to medical marijuana and opioids are comparable.
The good news? There’s more than one alternative to opioids. There are even options that are completely drug-free and may offer long-term or even permanent pain reduction. Consider epidural steroid injections or radiofrequency ablation. With so many ways to treat and reduce pain, patients should know there are more than two options on the table.
The United States is in the midst of a declared opioid epidemic. Many who overdose start their addiction with prescribed opioids. However, opioids are highly addictive and should only be prescribed in certain situations for short-term pain management. If you’re looking for an opioid alternative, it’s time to explore the possibilities. Contact Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 today.