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Can Cannabis Solve the Opioid Problem?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 28,600 Americans die every year from overdoses involving opioid-based painkillers. The opioid epidemic is costing the country $55 billion a year. Where available, medical cannabis is already being used to treat a variety of the same conditions painkillers are used for including chronic pain.

A recent study found that medical cannabis use was associated with a jaw-dropping 64% decrease in opioid use. This is a sizable decrease in unwanted side effects that can stem from prescription painkillers, as well as a healthy uptick in quality of life among the study's participants. The researchers also noted that patients were essentially substituting cannabis for their prescribed opioid-based drugs in large numbers. Equally as important, the peer-reviewed scientific research so far has shown that medical cannabis is also far less prone to abuse than opioid-based painkillers. 

Will one of the many forms of cannabis replace addictive pain killers and be able to make a real dent in the opioid crisis? Only time will tell.