Below is a press release sent out September 20 by Perry Solomon, MD, via “PRNewswire,” to announce that Amanda Reiman, PhD, will analyze HelloMD’s 100,000-patient database to determine “how cannabis may affect the patient’s use of opioids,” among other things. We welcome the news, of course —the more confirmation the better— but we think we already know the outcome. Doctors in the Society of Cannabis Clinicians have been reporting for many years that pain patients with access to cannabis reduce their use of opioids by 50%, on average, and many quit opioids altogether. And as Tod Mikuriya, MD, used to observe, “Neither cannabis nor human physiology have changed that much over the centuries.”
Here is O’Shaughnessy’s 10-year survey by Mikuriya et al.
Here is Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather’s response to a follow-up survey. The SCC President wrote in 2009 that cannabis “is adequate for pain control for the vast majority of patients. About seven percent of my chronic pain patients remain opiate dependent. The trend is for patients to gradually reduce and omit the use of opiates in favor of cannabis.” We expect Amanda Reiman to come to a similar conclusion based on the HelloMD data.
This is the release from PR Newswire yesterday:
HelloMD and UC Berkeley Announce Launch of Largest Patient Survey Conducted On Pain and Opioid Use
HelloMD, a leading digital healthcare platform for medical marijuana patients, announced today they are launching the largest patient survey concerning pain, opioid use and cannabis ever performed. Performed in collaboration with University of California Berkeley, HelloMD will ask 100,000 of its registered participants questions regarding cannabis and how it has affected their use of opioids. The company is following up on their landmark “Medical Marijuana Patient Survey Results” study of 17,000 patients, conducted in January 2016
Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids, (CDC). The opioid epidemic reached critical proportions with 18,893 people dying from overdoses in 2014 alone.
“Opioid use and overdose statistics are staggering and should bring pause to every American,” said Dr. Perry Solomon, Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD. “In partnering with the University of Berkeley, along with other esteemed colleagues, we hope to better understand how and why these dependencies are coming to be and how cannabis may affect the patient’s use of opioids, among many other findings needed to help curb this epidemic.”
The study will be led by Amanda Reiman, PhD, MSW, Lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, Perry Solomon, MD, Chief Medical Officer for HelloMD, Mark A. Welty, Ph.D., NCC, LPCC-S, LSW, Kent State University, Adjunct Faculty, Welty Counseling and Consulting, CEO, The Village Network, Director of Research and Innovation, The Ohio Patient Network, Board of Directors, and Chris Janson, PhD, Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, School Counseling, & Sport Management, University of North Florida.
Amanda Reiman states:
“It is imperative that we investigate alternatives to opiates for the treatment of pain. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years across cultures. There is no reason to exclude it from treatment options, and even less of a reason to discriminate against those who choose it as the best treatment for themselves.”
The study is expected to be completed later this year with results published in early 2017.