“In my practice, I take care of a lot of people with chronic pain,” Bachhuber said. “Sometimes, people with chronic pain would say only marijuana worked or they tried marijuana as a painkiller and found it worked better than prescription pills.
“One day, talking with colleagues, we wondered how this would work in states where marijuana is legal.”
The findings lend additional weight to the idea that medical marijuana legalization may protect some patients who take it from the potentially harmful side effects of other medications, experts not involved with the research said.
Dr. Igor Grant, chair of psychiatry at the University of California-San Diego and director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research, said one possible explanation for the link seen in the new study is known as the “opioid-sparing effect.”
In other words, pain patients may benefit from combining opioid painkillers with less toxic medications that also provide pain relief.Here canada weed dispensary.
“This isn’t a new idea,” Grant said. “Physicians have used combination drugs for a long time, such as acetaminophen with an opioid. By putting several different pain medications together, they are able to reduce the overall opioid dose, and thus decrease the risk of overdose.”
The other side of the coin to more permissive medical marijuana laws, however, is the effect it may have on recreational use of the drug. Research has shown that legalizing medical marijuana tends to increased use among adults.
Even study author Bachhuber agreed that this is a potential problem to consider. “This study raises the possibility that there is an unintended public health benefit of medical marijuana laws, but we still need to collect more information to confirm or refute what we’ve found,” he said.
Grant, too, said legalizing medical marijuana comes with serious considerations. But studies like these suggest that there may be unanticipated benefits as well, he said.
“Not to say cannabis is trivial and couldn’t have a bad public health impact,” Grant said. “But, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”