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Recently-published research suggest that medical cannabis use may be associated with a higher risk of abusing prescription medication, including pain relievers.
Many studies have cited the benefits of medical marijuana and some have even indicated its potential use in combatting the opioid crisis. However, findings from recently-published research suggest that medical cannabis use may be associated with a higher risk of abusing prescription medication, including pain relievers.
The study, published in the
, includes more than 57,000 responses to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in which participants were asked about medical and non-medical use of prescription drugs. Participants were also asked about marijuana use and whether it was recommended by a health care professional. Overall, the survey identified 776 people who used medical marijuana — approximately 1.4% of all respondents.
Journal of Addiction Medicine
According to the survey, those who used medical marijuana were more than twice as likely to report non-medical use of prescription drugs, including pain relievers, stimulants, and tranquilizers. Additionally, in an analysis limited to people who used prescription drugs, higher levels of non-medical prescription drug use were prevalent among those who used medical marijuana.
However, other studies have contradicted the notion that marijuana is linked to increased prescription drug use. Previous research has indicated that states in which medical marijuana is legal have lower rates of medical and non-medical prescription drug abuse and related harms, such as opioid overdoses.
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