Study: Majority Of Medical Marijuana Patients Substitute Cannabis For Prescription Drugs

Providence, RI: The majority of qualified patients in Rhode Island who obtain cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary report having used it as an alternative to conventional prescription drugs, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators Brown University in Providence and the University of Arkansas reported that over two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) used cannabis to treat chronic pain and that the majority (56 percent) indicated that they had used cannabis as a substitute for pharmaceutical drugs, primarily opioids. Over 90 percent of respondents reported that cannabis was associated with fewer side effects than conventional pain medications.

Most respondents in the study possessed health insurance and had never received treatment for drug or alcohol use. Respondents represented about half of the total number of licensed patients in the state.

The study’s findings support previous research “depicting synergistic effects between cannabis and opioid use for chronic pain, and suggests that many participants … have a desire to reduce their own reliance on opioid medications,” authors concluded.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Profiles of medicinal cannabis patients attending Compassion Centers in Rhode Island,” appears in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.