A new study by researchers from the University of New Mexico found that 34 percent of chronic pain patients enrolled in the study were able to cease using all prescription medications by the last six months of the 24-month observation period.
The study included 83 chronic pain patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program, compared to 42 who were not. Another 36 percent of registered medical cannabis patients enrolled in the study were able to use fewer medications by the end of the study.
“Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations,” the study authors concluded. “[A] shift from prescriptions for other scheduled drugs to cannabis may result in less frequent interactions with our conventional healthcare system and potentially improved patient health.”
The authors state the purpose of the study was to “measure the effect of enrollment in state authorized [medical cannabis programs] on Schedule I [through] V drug prescription patterns. The authors argue that “co-prescribing of scheduled drugs is endemic” in the U.S. and presents “health risks to patients” and a burden on healthcare systems.
The study was published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
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