New York: Patients Using Fewer Opioids Following Enrollment In Medical Cannabis Program

Medical marijuanaPatients enrolled in New York state’s medical cannabis program reduce their use of opioids and spend less money on prescription medications, according to data published online in the journal Mental Health Clinician.

Investigators from the GPI Clinical Research in Rochester and the University of Buffalo assessed trends in patients’ medical cannabis and prescription drug use following their enrollment into the state’s marijuana access program.

On average, subjects’ monthly analgesic prescription costs declined by 32 percent following enrollment, primarily due to a reduction in the use of opioid pills and fentanyl patches. “After three months treatment, medical cannabis improved [subjects’] quality of life, reduced pain and opioid use, and lead to cost savings,” authors concluded.

The study’s findings are similar to those reported among enrollees in other states medical cannabis programs, including the experiences of patients in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and elsewhere.

The full text of the study, “Preliminary evaluation of the efficacy, safety, and costs associated with the treatment of chronic pain with medical cannabis,” appears online here. NORML’s fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online here.

29 thoughts

  1. Great job, New York! Marijuana use CAN be used in the fight to end the opioid crisis! More legislators need convincing and more evidence should be shown widely! It can even assist in those addicted to alcohol and other harmful ways of pseudo self-medicating.

    New York needs to legalize in full…as I have long felt, New York State would be the nail in the COFFIN for Prohibition. No question.

    Beautiful day, Colony on TV, and the progressive future marches on with incoming generations, despite this conservative and traditionalist nightmare. One world, one humanity, one legalization.

    To support legalization is to support a better world and a compassionate, progressive, united humanity, no matter creed, color, background, beliefs.

    To legalization, to the future!


  2. The program does not allow for smokable’ forms of marijuana, which works best for some patients. Due to the high prices of dispensary products and not allowing patients to grow at home, NY’s program is the least compassionate in the country. PA’s is better.

  3. It is a truly remarkable medical phenomenon to observe and experience — the spontaneous transition from pills to pot which medical patients of all kinds will make, given a reasonable chance.

    Yet, in some ways, it says more about our society than our biology. Why should the the properties of a ubiquitous and familiar plant — a common weed — be suddenly found to be remarkable? That in itself is peculiar. Our faith in modern medicine tells us we understand the science down to a genetic level. How can it be that we have only recently discovered the existence of the human endo-cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery?

    The answer, in short, is “reefer madness.”

    That is why I am Dain Bramage. The Man sure did a number on my head! But I’m getting much better now, thank you. I don’t listen to The Man anymore.

    1. The term “The Man” is useful because it is a generalized label for something very complex, and often, very obscure. It allows us to talk about something that is real, but hard to define.

      It could mean the cops, or white power; these are both valid intersections. I have come to use the term to mean primarily Corporate Power, including all its Capitalist dogmas and corrupt purposes; and, the support of a fascist, enabling political structure; and, the use of violence and force to achieve its aims, via the might of a complicit law enforcement and/or military.

  4. Hi, all….check the news, TURTLE (or cocaine), Mitch McConnell says he has ZERO plans to support marijuana legalization, even though he supports hemp… the old geezers out, the Prohibitionist stink is strong still in Congress. Prohibition Mitch!

    1. or, at least half right Mitch, at least he supports hemp, but, still, not good enough!

  5. Marijuana (aka Cannabis Sativa) obviously has numerous medical properties. If it’s only value was to help people to reduce their use of Opioids that should be enough to get it removed from schedule 1 status.

    However, idiotic Republicans in high places like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who on Tuesday told reporters: “I do not have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana”. This is very much like what John Boehner said for decades; that is until his thinking evolved and he took a job with a major marijuana business…

    Dirtbags they are!

    McConnell is someone who clearly does not represent American values and should be kicked to the curb ASAP!

  6. lol turtle McConnell looks like one of those Super Mario turtles, hahaha….and the “thanks for playing” post. 1UP, 1UP, 1UP, dododo do do DO, mario theme, lol

  7. Really quickly, before my battery dies. Watching the House debate on HR. 2152, the Citizens Right To Know bill, which calls for oversight by the DOJ into the pre-trial release program. Reps. Higgins and Poe, backed apparently by the National Organization of Police support the bill. The first step toward keeping people who can’t pay a bond in JAIL rather than pretrial.

    Higgins is former law enforcement, and I think Poe is about to leave office. The other rep. was RIGHT. This bill will disproportionately affect minorities and poor people.

    Of course the old geezers are backed up by the police…Higgins is from Louisiana. Check it out. This bill is a glaring example of the dangers under this DOJ and administration.

    ROLLING BACK the rights of poor and minorities. DESTROYING progress made in criminal justice reform.

    Check it out, was on CSPAN just moments ago.

    Citizen’s Right To Know

    This bill relates to our marijuana fight.

    All they want to do is keep people LOCKED UP.


    More ultra-conservative police-state stiiiink.

    Out of time, but had to post something on this, sorry if this post is disorganized. More details soon!

      1. Wondering, if you are reading this, Julian, if you know about Ted Poe in Texas….

        old man needs to go.

      2. thanks, Julian, I will get back to your article!

        sigh….HR2152 passed. Another victory for old, white, rich, police-state dinosaurs, one, of COURSE, who happens to be former law enforcement. TYPICAL.

      3. OK, lol Julian. Disapprovingly weak. Ted Cruz just can’t seem to get it right! That’s all, folks!

        Duh duh DONNALD Trump, lol

        Expect to see Cruz running for Prez again, but he is apparently not well liked!

      4. also, there is Ted Cruz, and then Ted POE, a Rep. in your state, Texas…

      5. From the chart in Julian’s link, overall, 43% oppose Ted Cruz, while 38% support him, with the rest being, like, “whatever.” I am always surprised — make that appalled — that he ever gets any support at all.

        But I have learned to expect that the more repugnant I might find a particular politician to be in principle, position, and character, the more appealing that politician will be to the Republican base.

        They call it “liberal tears.” Their position is a function of my position: f(x)=NOT(x). I don’t fully understand that pathological condition, I admit; but, no, I guess I’m not surprised anymore, really.

  8. Third party protest votes made sense at one time, when you couldn’t tell Bill Clinton from George W regarding marijuana policy. (Not that there wasn’t a difference between the two administrations. George W blew up the middle east with a unnecessary war of aggression, resulting in an international bloodbath; Bill just got blown.)

    But right now we have a national emergency. The Democrats are fighting for democracy and human rights; Republicans are working on Putin’s behalf to protect Putin’s willing operative, Traitor Trump, from prosecution for his high crimes; among them specifically, treason.

    Democrats have their own problems: Joe Manchin. He won his state democratic primary. Credit to the progressives that gave him a run for his money… As I understand it, he started a “Progressives for Joe Manchin” campaign as a result! You got his attention. But, he still won the primary rather handily.

    Manchin votes WITH Trump MOST of the time, and strongly defends the torture nominee for CIA. At a minimum, Manchin is a problem for progressives to solve.

    But a third party vote won’t help.

    If the alternative is a Republican who is a loyal Nunes-type fascist toady, who votes with Trump 100% of the time, then you really can’t let that Republican traitor have that Senate Seat.

    First, the tough call: do you want the Senate Seat to be D or R? Answer: D. Then vote accordingly. Moral qualms? Which will oppose torture more vigorously, a Democratic controlled Senate, or a Republican controlled Senate? Answer: D.

    If the Blue Wave succeeds, then the left will be in a position to pressure and isolate Joe Manchin for his regressive voting record. But if the Blue Wave fails, Manchin will continue to fuck over the Democrats, like a new modern day Joe Lieberman.

    I acknowledge it is far from perfect. What do you think, Evening Bud?

    1. Just saw Ralph Nader on The Beat with Ari Melber.
      Nader says the Democrats must adopt a progressive agenda to win. I agree with that, too.

    2. Dain, Lol.

      I was about to reply to your post–then I saw my name. So now I HAVE to reply.

      I completely agree with your post, Dain. You know my feelings about Corporate Dems; but I’m realistic enough to know that the Regressive Party, aka the GOP, must be de-winged first. After the dust has settled and the Prohibitionist Party is out of control, then we can sort out the true progressives from the corporatists.

      I will continue, therefore, to vote progressive in the primaries and Dems (progressive or not) in the general.

      Manchin btw is one of those who I believe would change parties at his convenience in a heartbeat. There’s something keeping him with the Dems–maybe there are a lot of registered Dems in W Va. I usually cringe at his votes.

  9. Kamala Harris is officially supporting marijuana legalization!!! She is a Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 presidential election.

    It is too early to give my full support because it depends on who else runs and also supports legalization but, if that vote was to happen today, she would definately get my vote!

    Maybe it’s time to have a female president. I voted for Hillary in the last election, but it was only because I thought Trump was worse (lesser of the 2 evils…). I think that Kamala is someone I could actually like as president!

    I wonder what the rest of my NORML friends out there think about her.

    If you vote Democrat, then you vote for legalization. If you vote Republican, you vote to get you and your cannabis consuming friends and family locked up; at least that’s how I see it considering that Senate Republican Mitch McConnell and Trumps Attorney General Sessions seen to despise anything and everything marijuana…

  10. The rights of MMJ patients have been violated in NY. Everything you think the program is, well, it’s the opposite of compassionate. What Cuomo has allowed is ‘eltists’ to control the accessibility and price of medicine. In CNY, people need MMJ at an affordable price, yet, that’s no where to be found. Etain sucks. Cuomo is so out of touch with reality, it’s funny. Shame on him and Zucker.

  11. Can someone let the DEA know that legalized or medicinal cannabis lowers opioid use? They don’t seem to get this.

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