Is Marijuana the Cure for the Opioid Epidemic?

Is Marijuana cure for opioids? We ask ourself this as opioids are being prescribed more and more, and the addiction levels are getting worse.

A third of the United States population suffers from chronic pain, a condition that costs $100 billion dollars a year in lost productivity in the workforce. Every day 91 people in the US die from opioid overdoses. Even though zero statistics support the use of opioids as long-term treatment for chronic pain, 650,000 new prescriptions are issued each day for this substance. We ask, is marijuana cure for opioids.

NFL team doctors continue to prescribe opioids to treat players’ injuries despite the crippling side effects and addictive nature of these drugs. A study conducted by investigators at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that 7 percent of the former NFL players surveyed were currently using painkilling opioid drugs. This statistic is more than four times the rate of opioid use in the general population.

During a presentation at the 2017 Cultivation Classic, neuroscientist Dr. Adie Poe of Habu Health talked about the need for alternative solutions to opioids as a treatment for those suffering for chronic pain. According to Poe, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggested using non-opioids for most cases of chronic pain, as well as using the lowest effective dose of opioids.


In Poe’s estimation, medical marijuana can help address the CDC’s concern that non-opioids be used in the treatment of chronic pain. A report issued by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and Medicine reviewed more than 100,000 studies to evaluate the harm and benefits of marijuana when used by patients. The review presented conclusive evidence for cannabis as an effective treatment for chronic pain. In other words, marijuana cure for chronic pain can work. While this study found substantial evidence linking cannabis to respiratory problems if smoked or vaped, medical marijuana can be consumed effectively in other ways. Marijuana patients can get their recommended dose by taking this product in other forms such as cannabis pills, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

Furthermore, Poe pointed to the synergy of using both opioids and cannabinoids to enhance pain relief. People on cannabis drop their use of opioids by about half. As cognitive abilities improve after taking medical marijuana as patients are taking less opioids, these individuals are able achieve a higher level of functioning in their professional and personal lives than when they were taking only opioids.


In a talk at TechFestNW, Jeremy Plumb of Farma highlighted some barriers to the effective treatment of cannabis for chronic pain. As medicinal marijuana remains classified by the DEA as a schedule 1 drug, this means the product is still viewed at the federal level as having no medicinal value. Also, cannabis research remains in its infancy due to the stoner stigma associated with this plant coupled with the difficulties of conducting medical research on a federally banned substance. Hence, doctors don’t prescribe cannabis pills or understand the health benefits of medical marijuana.

Other obstacles include the need to address dosage consistency and diversity issues in the regulated markets. Furthermore, there remains limited knowledge of chemotypes and their uses.


Dr. Poe points to the need for clinical trials on medical marijuana in order to present legislators with the data needed to convince them to de-schedule medical marijuana. In the interim, she recommends analytical testing to address any toxins present in the plant. Reliable and reproducible testing will instill confidence in the data being presented.

Also, product development needs to take into consideration the needs of immunocompromised and pediatric patients. Finally, there’s a need to educate budtenders, Those who work in dispensaries need to be able to address customers’ questions about the use of marijuana as a cure for chronic pain.

So far, the limited statistics available point to cannabis as an effective tool to combat the opioid epidemic. A 2014 article published in JAMA cites that states with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws. This lower morality rate came about simply through the availability of medical marijuana and not due to any large scale advocacy or educational campaigns. As Plumb aptly noted, a running joke in the cannabis community is that the only way one can actually die from marijuana is if a bale falls on them.

Comments for Is Marijuana the Cure for the Opioid Epidemic?



Venture capital investors betting big on cannabis

As the cannabis industry is becoming mainstream venture capital investors are becoming more interested in the green world. We got the scoop.

5 Ways To Avoid Coughing While Dabbing

Dabbing is a popular way to consume cannabis, but one hit often results in a serious bout of coughing. Here are some tips to minimize the post-dab cough.

5 Strains to Take With You on Your Last Camping Trip of the Summer

Summer is almost over, but there's still plenty of time to squeeze in one last camping trip before it gets cold. Be sure you're bringing the right strains!

Is Sugar Worse Than Marijuana?

Americans thinks sugar is worse for you than marijuana according to a new poll. Women's Health magazine shared their thoughts in this brief article.

What To Do When Catch Your Child Smoking Pot?

You're a real cool adult and a good parent as well. So what do you do if you catch your kid smoking weed? How do you even begin to deal with that?

Weed and Menstrual Cramps: Here Are Some Products to Help

Weed and menstrual cramps is an issue that until lately, has been overlooked by the booming industry. Here are the products that can help ease your pain.

How to Get a Medical Card in Oregon

Oregon has one of the leading medical marijuana programs in the country. Here is everything potential patients need to know to get a medical card in Oregon.

How Can You Get Marijuana Out of Your System?

Do you know how what gets marijuana out of your system? We do! Here are some great tips and tricks for marijuana detoxing.

6 Tips for Keeping your Cannabis Fresh

What do you know about keeping your cannabis fresh? Here's some tips on how to store your cannabis to ensure maximum freshness.

Federal Cannabis Laws: This Is What You Need To Know

Do you consume marijuana? Whether you smoke it for recreational use or ingest it for medical purposes, it is important you know the federal cannabis laws.

Cannabis 101: Understanding the plant that is changing the world

Are you new to cannabis? Here is everything you need to know about cannabis 101. We cover everything from different strains to consuming methods.

Stop Smoking Weed Everyday: Benefits Of A Weed Detox

Actionable guide to help stop smoking weed or quitting smoking weed all together. We give you our pro-tips in this quick guide to weed detox.

The 5 Healthiest Oils for Cannabis Cooking

The trend cannabis cooking is growing rapidly, and we want to make sure you are using the best oils to cook cannabis with.

Cannabis Benefits: 5 Ways Weed Can Benefit Your Stomach

As the conversation regarding medical marijuana continues so does the the conversation about all its benefits. Here are ways cannabis can benefit your tummy

Here’s why the legal status of cannabis in South Africa is complicated

You might have heard that it's now legal to use cannabis in South Africa. The truth is a lot more complicated - and interesting.

Connect with Society Kush

Get some dope in your inbox. Sign up for our Newsletter!