Tags: elizabeth warren | marijuana | study | cdc

Elizabeth Warren's Marijuana Study Request to CDC Proposes Opioid Alternative

Image: Elizabeth Warren's Marijuana Study Request to CDC Proposes Opioid Alternative
(Combo Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images ; Ron Sachs/Pool/Sipa USA via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 12:06 PM

Senator Elizabeth Warren wants the CDC to study medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid painkillers that have caused overdose deaths across the country.

According to Think Progress, Warren wrote a letter on Feb. 8 to CDC Director Thomas Frieden asking his agency "to explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options."

Instead of prescribing oxycodone, fentanyl, or other popular drugs in the category, Warren suggests medical marijuana could stem the tide of overdose deaths — which doubled between 2000 and 2014 — and could be easy for doctors to access in states where medical marijuana is already legal.

Vox.com reported that the size of the opioid industry is vast, and has grown ever more so over the last few years.

"About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain (such as lifelong back pain), more suffer only from acute pain (such as a temporary injury), and many of these cases go untreated," the publication explained, citing a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine.

"These are the kinds of figures doctors were worried about in the 1990s and 2000s when they began prescribing opioids at record numbers — by 2012, enough to give a bottle of pills to every adult in the country — and essentially caused the opioid epidemic."

Alternatively, a review of the best research on medical marijuana conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that there is "moderate-quality evidence" for the effectiveness of marijuana in treating chronic pain. There was "low-quality evidence" for marijuana's effectiveness in the face of reducing nausea for chemotherapy patients, fighting sleep disorders, and treating Tourette's syndrome.

Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington state have all legalized recreational marijuana, while dozens of states provide legalized marijuana for medical use.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren wants the CDC to study medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid painkillers that have caused overdose deaths across the country.
elizabeth warren, marijuana, study, cdc
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2016-06-16
Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 12:06 PM
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