Many believe that the legalization of marijuana means that more people will now get to enjoy the drug for fun purposes, but a new study says that costumers are more interested in the health benefits of the plant.
Recent data published on the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs suggests that people are taking advantage of legal recreational marijuana in order to self-medicate.
“The majority reported taking cannabis to relieve pain or to promote sleep. In addition, most respondents taking cannabis for pain or sleep reported substituting cannabis for prescription or over-the-counter analgesics or sleep aids,” reports the study.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people who shopped in two Colorado dispensaries and who didn’t meet the prerequisites for a medical marijuana license.
According to the CDC, chronic pain affects 20% of Americans. This disease is one that’s very hard to diagnose and to efficiently medicate, contributing greatly to the spread of opioid overuse and addiction. Americans are also greatly affected by sleep disorders, with 70% of them stating that at least once a month they spend a night of poor or restless sleep. For these users who don’t have a clear cut condition that warrants a medical marijuana license, recreational marijuana makes for a simple fix.
Paul Armentano, Deputy Director at NORML, says that these results aren’t surprising and that they corroborate previous studies on marijuana that claim that the drug has a significant effect on the reduction of opioid use.
“These findings speak not only to the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis as an alternative analgesic option, but also to its potential role as a harm reduction agent.”