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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 15 Sep 2015 04:20:21 PST

Study: Patients Replace Prescription Drugs With Cannabis

Mesa, AZ: Patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their consumption of conventional pharmaceuticals, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators affiliated with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa surveyed responses from 367 state-qualified patients recruited from four Arizona medical cannabis dispensaries. Respondents were more likely to be male, in their mid-40s, and daily consumers of cannabis.

Respondents most often reported using cannabis therapeutically to treat symptoms of chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anxiety, arthritis, depression, headaches, insomnia, and stress. Patients typically said that cannabis provided "a lot of relief" or "almost complete relief" of their symptoms and that its efficacy was greater than that of more conventional medications.

Patients also reported reducing their use of pharmaceuticals. Over 70 percent of respondents reported using other medications "a little less frequently" or "much less frequently" for 24 of the 42 conditions specified. Over 90 percent of those who reported consuming cannabis to mitigate symptoms of nausea, headache, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, bowel distress, and chronic pain acknowledged using pharmaceuticals less frequently once they had initiated cannabis therapy.

Previously published survey data of medical cannabis patients similarly report subjects' willingness to substitute cannabis for prescription drugs, particularly opioids.

A study published in July by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-partisan think-tank, reported, "[S]tates permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not." Data published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine similarly reported, "States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws."

Full text of the study, "Medical cannabis in Arizona: Patient characteristics, perceptions, and impressions of medical cannabis legalization," appears in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Most Consumers Choose Retail Marijuana Access Over The Illicit Market

Pawtucket, RI: Retail cannabis providers are far more popular with consumers than are illicit market providers, according to survey data compiled and published by Marijuana Business Daily.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents who resided in states that permit regulated marijuana sales reported no longer purchasing cannabis from the black market.

Pollsters surveyed more than 1,600 medical and recreational users across the country. The results appeared online Tuesday.

The data rebuts concerns that many consumers would continue to solicit the underground market in order to avoid paying taxes or other regulatory fees.

"The figures provide one of the clearest indications yet that marijuana legalization and cannabis businesses are highly effective in steering patients and general marijuana users away from the black market," Marijuana Business Daily staff writer Becky Olsen wrote. "Certainly the cannabis black market can never really be entirely eradicated, even under the ideal scenario of full federal legalization. However, the size and influence of illicit markets can be reduced sufficiently so as to be rendered inconsequential, the figures show."

Washington: Marijuana Law Changes Not Associated With Increased Teen Use

Olympia, WA: Changes in marijuana laws are not associated with increased use of the substance by teens, according to data compiled by Washington's Healthy Youth Survey and published by the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.

State survey results from the years 2002 to 2014 show little change in cannabis consumption by Washington teens despite the passage of laws permitting and expanding the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes during this time.

Self-reported marijuana use fell slightly among 8th graders, 10th graders, and 12th graders during this period. Young people's self-reported access to cannabis also remained largely unchanged during this time period, although more 8th graders now report that marijuana is "hard to get."

The passage of voter-initiated legislation legalizing the adult use of cannabis in 2012 is also not associated with any increase in consumption by youth. Between 2012 and 2014, self-reported lifetime marijuana use and/or use within the past 30 days either stayed stable or fell among all of the age groups surveyed.

The report concluded, "[C]annabis use and access among students in 6th through 12th grades have changed little from 2002 through the most recent survey in 2014."

The findings are consistent with those of previous assessments acknowledging that liberalizing state marijuana laws does not stimulate increased use among young people.

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