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Can Medical Cannabis Replace Opioids?

The opioid problem in the United States has been designated as a national crisis, for good reason. Between 1999 and 2018, nearly 450,000 people died from an opioid overdose, and overdose rates were four times higher in 2018 than they were in 1999. These sobering numbers demonstrate the dangers of opioid use, and any steps you take toward avoiding them altogether are steps worth taking.

At Coastal Wellness Centers, one of the goals is to offer patients an alternative to opioids to combat pain. Through medical marijuana, we can manage your pain without the pitfalls of prescription painkillers, helping you find a solution that best supports your health and wellness.

The Dangers Of Prescription Painkillers

While we’ve already introduced some eye-opening statistics about opioids in the US, let’s take a closer look at their relationship to prescription painkillers.

Opioids as painkillers come in many forms, with oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine leading the charge. These drugs do a great job of relieving pain, but they also come with a serious risk of dependency and addiction because they alter the chemistry and neural pathways in your brain.

To dive deeper into the numbers, 8%-12% of those who use prescription painkillers that contain opioids go on to develop an opioid use disorder. Going a step further, 4%-6% of those who misuse opioids turn to heroin, and 80% of those who use heroin first misused opioids. What these numbers show us is that opioid use may simply not be worth the risks.

Cannabis And Pain

Most of those who turn to medical marijuana cite pain relief as one of their primary objectives. Medical marijuana, which is derived from cannabis, contains ingredients that work with the human endocannabinoid system. Breaking these ingredients down, the first is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short), and the second is cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive ingredient, and CBD is the non-psychoactive component. Together, they stimulate natural chemicals in your body and brain that ease pain and reduce inflammation, while encouraging a more relaxed state at the same time. Cannabis accomplishes this by binding to neurotransmitters in your nervous system and impacting messaging between your body and your brain. If you’re hesitant about the psychoactive effects of THC, you can start with CBD, though many report that a combination garners the best results for pain.

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