Cannabis: A Gateway to Addiction Prevention?

Forget the old notion that marijuana is a ‘gateway’ to hard drugs like heroin. Two researchers from the University of New Mexico now say it can actually help prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place.

The researchers compared 125 chronic pain sufferers for their study. 85 were enrolled in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. 42 patients were not. Among the first group, 34% decided to quit their powerful painkillers. Among the second group, 98% decided to stay on their potentially addictive prescription drugs.

The research could have significant implications for the U.S. as it digs for solutions to the crushing epidemic of opioid dependence.

“Our current opioid epidemic is the leading preventable form of death in the US – killing more people than car accidents and gun violence," said Jacob Miguel Vigil, who authored the study. Given the results, “the relative safety and efficacy of using cannabis in comparison to that of the other scheduled medications should be taken by the health providers and legislators, and may very well to have been considered by the patients in our study.”

Read more about the study here


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