Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked To Reduced Opioid Use By Cancer Patients, American Medical Association Study Finds

Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked To Reduced Opioid Use By Cancer Patients, American Medical Association Study Finds
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State-level medical marijuana legalization is associated with a significant decrease in opioid prescriptions and use among certain cancer patients, according to a new study from the American Medical Association. The study, which analyzed data on insurance claims from 38,189 people with recently diagnosed cancer, found that medical cannabis legalization implemented between 2012 and 2017 was linked to “5.5 percent to 19.2 percent relative reduction in the rate of opioid dispensing.” “Medical marijuana could be serving as a substitute for opioid therapies among some adult patients receiving cancer treatment,” the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Oncology on Thursday, concluded, though researchers said “future studies need to elucidate the nature of the associations and implications for patient outcomes.” “The findings suggest that medical marijuana legalization may have been associated with lower use of opioids by some adult patients receiving cancer treatment” A total of 34 states were included in the cross-sectional analysis, and researchers at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Texas and Albert Einstein College of Medicine also examined how the prevalence of dispensaries further affected opioid prescribing. They found that “in general, medical marijuana legalization with dispensary allowances was associated with a larger reduction in the rate of 1 or more opioid days,” particularly for those with recent breast cancer diagnoses. “Medical marijuana legalization with dispensary allowances was associated with a larger reduction in opioid dispensing compared with legalization without dispensary allowances.” The study also found that medical cannabis legalization was associated in a reduction “was associated with a reduction in pain-related hospital events (suggesting uncontrolled pain) among patients with lung cancer (and among patients with breast cancer to a lesser extent) with recent opioids, and such reductions were seen shortly after medical marijuana legalization took effect.” The researchers speculated…

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Source : Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked To Reduced Opioid Use By Cancer Patients, American Medical Association Study Finds

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