Talking Points on Opioids and Medical Cannabis

  • Research shows cannabis as safe and effective for treating certain types of chronic pain conditions, with over 9,000 patient/years of data from modern clinical studies

  • On average, 46 people die each day (16,000 per year) from prescription opioid overdose, while there has never been a recorded fatal cannabis overdose

  • According to the Journal of American Medicine, medical cannabis states have experienced about 25% fewer opioid overdoses compared to states that do not allow safe and legal access to medical cannabis for patients

  • The Center for Disease Control has advised clinicians against testing for cannabis as criteria for eligible care and warned clinicians that dismissing a patient from care based solely on a urine drug test result could have adverse consequences for the patient’s safety

  • While cannabis is often portrayed as a “gateway drug,” it actually appears to be more of an “exit drug” as opioid-dependent patients have been able to reduce or eliminate their use of opioids through medical cannabis therapy

Talking Points on The CARERS Act

  • While everyone can agree that we need more research on medical cannabis, patients today should not have to needlessly suffer while waiting for the fruit of the research to provide them with any benefit

  • It takes the FDA an average of 9 years to approve a new drug, but it only takes approximately 2-4 weeks for a medical cannabis patient with chronic pain to be approved by a state program and have access to purchasing the substance from a regulated dispensary

  • No state would be forced to adopt a medical cannabis program under CARERS, but the states that have initiated programs could focus on product safety and improved outcomes rather than avoiding federal prosecution

  • Allowing states to set their own medical cannabis laws is a cost-neutral approach for the federal government to further address the opioid crisis