Opioid Epidemic: 3 Reasons Why Marijuana Should Be Your Primary Painkiller


By:  Faisal Ansari | MMJRecs

medical marijuana

3 Reasons Marijuana Should Be Your Primary Painkiller

Chronic pain is no laughing matter, and neither are opiates (the drugs typically prescribed to treat it).

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 2 million Americans were dependent on opioids in 2014, and there were nearly 20,000 opioid-related deaths that same year.

However, despite the statistics, doctors and hospitals continue to prescribe these dangerous drugs to patients at an alarming rate. These days, more than 200 million opiate prescriptions are written on an annual basis — which is nearly three times the amount that was written each year back in the 1990s.

Related Article: HUGE Increase In Heroin Overdoses For Women And Middle Class: Prescription Pain Killers To Blame 

The black market is also filled with these highly addictive and deadly drugs. People who don't have access to prescriptions can easily obtain them, crush them up, inject them intravenously, and achieve a high that's similar to heroin.

I'm not bringing up these disturbing facts and statistics to be a buzzkill; I'm bringing them up because there's a much better and safer way to treat pain that millions of people are missing out on.

Related Article: Disease Of Addiction Knows No Prejudice

The Perks of Natural Pain Management

Both chronic pain and addiction — two horrific ongoing epidemics that have plagued our nation for decades — can be curbed by medical marijuana (MMJ). In fact, a 2009-2010 study points out that opiate overdoses dropped approximately 25 percent in states where medical cannabis was recognized, while they rose everywhere else.

Significant strides have been made in cannabis plant research over the past few years, shedding light on the fact that MMJ effectively provides the relief patients need without killing them in the process.

If that's not a good enough reason to make MMJ your primary painkiller, here are three more big benefits of going green in a pharmaceutical sense:

  1. Marijuana Is Versatile

    Cannabinoids can be dosed at various levels and consumed in a variety of ways that each provide different sensations. Whether it's a drop of concentrate on your tongue, a topical lotion you rub on your aching hands, a sweet treat like a gummy bear, or a traditional joint of flower, you don't just have complete control over how you take your medicine; you can also dictate how strong it is.There are two main varieties of cannabis plants — indica and sativa — and each provide unique sensations to users when consumed. High-strength indicas, for example, are the perfect way to recover from surgery, as the full-body high helps you feel comfortable and capable of handling post-op pains. In fact, indica edibles are so effective that patients can feel natural meditative effects for more than 8-12 hours after ingestion. Sativas, on the other hand, have been shown to increase energy, elevate moods, and help develop an appetite in patients who may otherwise not be willing or able to eat.When visiting a dispensary, the knowledgeable budtender behind the counter will be happy to direct you to the strain, substance, and strength that best suits your needs. It's possible he or she will recommend a hybrid strain of medical cannabis that possesses both indica and sativa.

       2. Marijuana Won't Break the Bank

Depending on your health insurance plan and the strength of the painkiller you've been prescribed, 30 pills of Oxycontin or Vicodin (two of the more common opioids) can cost anywhere from $40 to $550. Although this is technically considered a month's supply, hardcore addicts can plow through 30 pills in less than a week.

By comparison, retail marijuana costs anywhere from $5 to $20 per gram of flower and $35 to $100 per gram of concentrate, depending on where you live. A gram of flower can easily last a casual smoker a week and a gram of concentrate much longer, as only small dabs are necessary to achieve the same effect.

While opioid users eventually build up a staggering drug tolerance, cannabis users simply switch to other strains to maintain the same effectiveness without needing to continuously up dosages. Each cannabis strain contains a different ratio of more than 80 cannabinoids, so patients can easily counteract a tolerance.

       3. Marijuana Isn't Physically Addicting

Unlike pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or even sugar, marijuana isn't physically addictive. You won't get itchy or antsy coming off of it, and you certainly won't be in danger of dying if you stop cold turkey. Believe it or not, some progressive doctors are actually turning to MMJ to help wean their patients off of addictive pharmaceuticals, citing a more than 75 percent success rate when taking this route.

Further, opiate-based medications come with a list of uncomfortable side effects: upset stomach, constipation, loss of appetite, and, of course, addiction — to name a few. MMJ doesn't cause any of these things; it can actually be used to overcome these exact ailments.

This safe, non-addicting, natural approach to pain management is something that simply can't be achieved through traditional pharmaceuticals.

Related Article: Meet The Congressman Who Heroically Makes Marijuana Available To Children Suffering From Medical Conditions 

Momentum is building toward widespread acceptance and legalization of MMJ.

As you read this, the White House is taking steps to address the addiction epidemic sweeping the nation, 15 states have marijuana legalization initiatives working their way to the November ballots, candidates on both political sides are showing support for the MMJ industry, and scientific studies continue to emerge that highlight the benefits of both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — the two main chemical compounds that lead to marijuana's “high”.

Whether you're concerned about your chronic pain or simply a concerned citizen, it's clear that medical marijuana is the pain management solution our country and world desperately needs.


Faisal Ansari is the co-founder of MMJRecs, a telemedicine platform in the medical marijuana industry. As a former cancer patient who has reaped the medicinal benefits of marijuana, Faisal co-founded MMJRecs to help others connect to doctors with convenience and ease. He's a University of Miami graduate with a degree in finance. Faisal owns College Hunks Hauling Junk franchises in Orlando and Tampa, Florida. He is trilingual and speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish.










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