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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 12 Jun 2018 04:20:21 PST

Study: Majority Of Chronic Pain Patients Replace Opioids With Cannabis

Cleveland, OH: More than two-thirds of chronic pain patients registered to legally access medical cannabis products substitute marijuana for prescription opioids, according to data published in The Journal of Headache and Pain.

Investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of over 2,000 Canadian patients licensed to access marijuana products. Among those patients with a primary diagnosis of chronic pain, 73 percent reported substituting cannabis in place of opioids. Among those patients diagnosed specifically with headache/migraine, cannabis was frequently reported as a substitute for other medications - including opiates (43 percent), anti-depressants (39 percent), NSAIDS (21 percent), triptans (8 percent), and anti-convulsants (8 percent).

"Most patients in the pain groups reported replacing prescription medications with medicinal cannabis, the most common of which were opiates/opioids across all patient groups," authors concluded. "This is notable given the well-described 'opioid-sparing effect' of cannabinoids and growing abundance of literature suggesting that cannabis may help in weaning from these medications and perhaps providing a means of combating the opioid epidemic."

Full text of the study, "Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort," appears in The Journal of Headache and Pain. NORML's fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online.

Gallup: Most Americans Say It Is Morally Permissible To Smoke Marijuana

Princeton, NJ: Over six in ten Americans believe that it is morally permissible for adults to use cannabis, regardless of the plant's legal status, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Gallup.

Pollsters reported that 65 percent of respondents personally believe that "smoking marijuana" is morally acceptable. Thirty-one percent defined the behavior as "morally wrong."

The Gallup data represents a significant shift in Americans' attitudes. According to prior data compiled by the Pew Research Center, only ten percent of Americans in 2006 agreed that cannabis use was morally acceptable.

Survey data compiled by Gallup in 2017 reported that 64 percent of Americans - including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal, the highest percentage ever recorded by the polling firm.

Utah: Medical Access Initiative Certified For November Ballot

Salt Lake City, UT: State regulators have certified a voter-initiated medical cannabis access measure for the 2018 ballot. Officials announced last week that proponents had gathered nearly 154,000 validated initiative signatures from registered voters - far exceeding the total necessary to place the measure before a statewide vote.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act permits qualified patients to obtain either herbal cannabis or cannabis-infused products from a limited number state-licensed dispensaries.

Both the Utah Medical Association and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert have publicly opined against the measure. Nonetheless, public support in favor of the initiative remains strong, with 77 percent of Utahns either "strongly" or "somewhat" endorsing the plan, according to a UtahPolicy.com poll.

Voters in Oklahoma will also decide on a medical access initiative in a special election on Tuesday, June 26. By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, Oklahoma voters support the passage of State Question 788, according to polling data reported last week.

Voters in two other states - Michigan and Missouri - will also decide on Election Day on statewide marijuana reform initiatives. Recent polling from those states finds majority public support for all three measures.

Louisiana: Medical Marijuana Expansion Laws Take Effect

Baton Rouge, LA: Patients suffering from intractable pain, post-traumatic stress, and other medical conditions are now eligible to receive medical cannabis access under newly enacted legislation.

House Bill 627 expands the pool of patients eligible to receive cannabis therapy to include those with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, such as self-injuring behavior or an inability to communicate with others.

House Bill 579 further expands the patient pool to include those with: glaucoma, intractable pain (defined as "pain so chronic or severe as to otherwise warrant an opiate prescription"), Parkinson's disease, PTSD, and severe muscle spasms.

Under the state's nascent medical marijuana access law, two companies have been selected to produce cannabis-infused medicines, which will be dispensed via nine pharmacies throughout the state. Qualified patients are expected to begin having access to cannabis products by this fall.

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Legislation Lifting Medical Cannabis Dispensary Cap

Concord, NH: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has signed legislation into law expanding the total number of medical cannabis dispensaries which may operate legally within the state.

Senate Bill 388 acknowledges the need for the establishment of additional dispensaries in specific geographic areas, including Carroll, Cheshire, and Grafton counties. Under the state's initial medical cannabis law, no more than four dispensaries were permitted within the state.

An estimated 3,500 patients are registered with the state to access cannabis, according to 2017 data.

The new law takes effect on July 29, 2018.

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