On Aug. 29, Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill that allows patients to substitute opioid painkillers with cannabis. “We are creating an alternative to opioid addiction,” the governor stated. “It’s clear that medical marijuana treats pain effectively, and is less addictive and disruptive than opioids.”

The Illinois legislature passed a medical-marijuana bill in 2013. Rauner’s predecessor, Gov. Pat Quinn, signed it into law.

Painkillers have benefits and complications for those who need them. While they relieve pain, the side effects and addiction potential cause longterm damage to patients.

In 2017, 29,406 people died from overdoses of synthetic opioids (not including methadone). Cannabis reduces the use of opioids for pain relief by 64%.

Benefits of Cannabis for Pain

Cannabis use for pain has proven to be an effective alternative to opioids. It helps with the following types of pain:

• Central pain: Discomfort arising from dysfunction of the nervous system, like fibromyalgia.

• Nociceptive pain: Inflammatory pain from tissue damage distinguished by throbbing and sharp aches.

• Neuropathic pain: Different from nociceptive pain, this deals with damage to the body’s nervous system.

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