The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study that made clear prescription opioids are failing to manage America’s chronic pain issue. The study went on to say that Tylenol is just as good as Vicodin at helping the over 100 million Americans that contend with regular chronic pain.
The medical community needs to find a solution to the chronic pain issue facing the country and if opioids and acetaminophen cannot do it, marijuana is the next logical choice. Medical marijuana has many advocates that give testimonies on the relief they get from their chronic pain with cannabis. In states that have a legal medical marijuana program, chronic pain is often on the list of qualifying conditions.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared opioids (Vicodin, oxycodone, and fentanyl) to non-opioids (Tylenol, ibuprofen, and nerve blockers) to see if they were better at treating chronic back, hip, or knee pain. The answer was clear: They were not. “Treatment with opioids was not superior to treatment with non-opioids for improving pain-related function over 12 months,” the study reads. “Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain.”
The news is a major blow for pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma, who have made billions through prescription painkillers, but it’s even worse news for those suffering the effects of chronic pain. The question it leaves behind: If opioids aren’t the answer to chronic pain, what is?
For a growing number of doctors, the answer comes in the form of another less dangerous drug: cannabis. This past November, three doctors in Illinois started a campaign called Physicians Against Injurious Narcotics, or PAIN, which aims to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to allow anyone that qualifies for opioids to also qualify for marijuana.