Doctors are advised to prescribe cannabis over opioids for nerve pain

Physicians who prescribe opioid drugs to patients with neuropathy (nerve pain) should consider recommending canna­bis as a therapy, according to a peer-reviewed paper published online in the January 2012 Harm Reduction Journal.* “There is sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy for the use of (cannabis/ cannabinoids) in the treatment of nerve pain relative to opioids,” the paper states. “In States where medicinal cannabis is legal, physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids.

Prescribing cannabis in place of opioids for neuropathic pain may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates ­associated with prescription pain medications and may be an effective harm reduction strategy.” From 1999 to 2006, “approximately 65,000 people died from opioid analgesic overdose,” the author notes, and, by contrast, “[N]o one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis.” Inhaled cannabis has...

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