Study: Marijuana Card Holders Typically Reduce Their Use of Prescription Drugs

Providence, RI: State-registered medical cannabis card holders typically report reducing or eliminating their use of prescription pharmaceuticals, including opioids, according to data published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.

A team of investigators from Brown University in Rhode Island conducted a series of qualitative interviews with medical marijuana card holders.

Respondents frequently reported cannabis to be "more effective for certain conditions" than conventional medications and also said that it possessed fewer adverse side effects. Seventy-six percent of respondents reported being able to either "cut back" or "completely stop taking other prescription medications once they started using marijuana for medical purposes."

The findings are consistent with prior studies – such as those here, here, here, here, and here – reporting that patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs frequently mitigate or eliminate their use of opioids and other medications following the initiation of cannabis therapy.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, "Marijuana as a substitute for prescription medications: A qualitative study," appears in Substance Use & Misuse. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet.