Opioid drugs have been a cause of major addiction cases all across North America. The impact these drugs have had on various communities has led to companies developing these products to face lawsuits from regions in which the impact has warranted the attention of its officials.
While no breakthrough has been made in terms of new research or datasets connecting cannabis as a direct alternative to opioids, many consumer advocates of marijuana have long supported the idea.
A new study may start changing the perception. Aclara Research is set to publish a report in January 2018 that will reveal new insights into the cannabis industry as it relates to medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids. This study was conducted with support from patients, pharmacists, and dispensaries in the state of Illinois.
“But expanding education, treatment and overdose remedies would prevent many Illinoisans from becoming addicted — and keep others from dying from using opioids,” an editorial in The Chicago Tribune indicated.
As noted in the Tribune editorial, 1,889 people died in 2016 from opioid overdoses in Illinois. The governor, Bruce Rauner also announced the formation of a special taskforce meant to implement a new strategy from a recent report.
Study will be published in 2018, preliminary results made public
The preliminary data findings show 67 percent of patients stopped using any type of opioids after they used medical cannabis. An additional 30 percent of patients stopped using all prescription drugs after they started using medical marijuana.
The study also revealed one of the faults of the medical cannabis sector is just how little patients are asking healthcare professionals about it.
“Only 15 percent of patients are talking to their pharmacist about medical cannabis,” the study’s preliminary findings said. However, more than half of these reported a positive response from in-store pharmacists when asked about medical cannabis.
More than 40 percent of the patients surveyed in this study said they gathered information from medical cannabis through social media.
The need for more research data on cannabis
Due to its illegal nature in many locations –primarily on a federal level in the US– it has been difficult to investigate cannabis with complete scientific studies. Another reason relates to the variety of marijuana and its composition, according to Dave Berg, Strainprint’s chief technology officer
“There’s no really strong observational data set that allows us to make proper decisions,” Berg told the Investing News Network (INN).
Berg explained taking a molecular approach to cannabis can be difficult since the flower is changing from batch to batch.
What we found is, it’s less about the category of the strain and more about the underlying chemical composition of that strain and that strain itself can vary in composition not only from grower to grower but also in between from batch to batch. Taking an approach that’s more of a molecular approach, which is what doctors and most of us are used to, is increasingly difficult because the compound of cannabis is always changing based on batch to batch.
These results were presented at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) and the Midwest Cannabis Education Conference.
Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.