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Medical marijuana an effective opioid alternative: Study

Medical marijuana an effective opioid alternative: Study

A small sample of medical marijuana users in Illinois say the drug has been effective in reducing their reliance on other prescription drugs, including opioids for pain, according to a new study published in the September issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Participants told researchers with DePaul and Rush universities in Chicago they used medical marijuana as an alternative to using prescription or over-the-counter medications, as complementary use with prescription medications, and as a means for tapering off prescription medications, according to an abstract of the study. 

“Motives reported for reducing or eliminating prescription medications included concerns regarding toxicity, dependence, and tolerance, and perceptions that (medical cannabis) improves management of certain symptoms and has quicker action and longer lasting effects,” the abstract states.

Researchers surveyed 30 participants in the state’s medical marijuana program on a voluntary basis — a small sample of most-likely pro-marijuana patients, a fact researchers found might have skewed the data, according to the study. 

The average age among those surveyed was 44.6, most of whom were living with a range of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, spinal cord injury/disease and cancer, and who had qualified for medical marijuana use in Illinois, according to the study. 

While the study was considered small, it is believed to be the first peer-reviewed, published research of medical marijuana in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. 



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