People will tell you that pain is part of life. It’s true enough that we all indeed suffer at one point or another. On the other hand, chronic pain, pain from surgery, or as a result of other health conditions should never be normalized. This is especially important as we see the rise in prescription drug dangers.

The Opioid Crisis

Perhaps someone you know or love has struggled with opioid addiction. For many, it’s astonishing to think that these same personalities, once functional and rational, have gotten hooked. It definitely melts away at any stereotypes we have about addicts, as aging populations with no history of drug abuse become dependent as well.

In actuality, the medical community didn’t anticipate this happening, or at least they were told it wouldn’t. More than 20 years ago, pharmaceutical companies that had developed opioid painkillers for pain management were adamant that their products were not addictive. Society has learned the hard way that nothing could be further from the truth.

Currently, the United States and Canada are the first and second highest per capita users of opiates, respectively. To date, no data indicates that citizens in these nations somehow experience greater pain than those elsewhere in the world.

The trouble lies within how doctors treat pain, and how widespread the administration of these drugs really is. Someone can seek treatment for a broken wrist, and within weeks, find themselves among the one-quarter of patients on opioids that abuse their prescription.

In addition to addiction, opioids present a unique set of side effects that occur over both the short and long term. These include nausea, liver damage, and constipation, meaning that patients find themselves trading one kind of pain for another.

How Medicinal Marijuana Is Different

Despite all of this, your doctor is still more likely to prescribe an opiate than marijuana. It’s a complicated topic, but it bears repeating that marijuana does not kill tens of thousands of people per year, and there’s no consensus stating that it is psychologically addictive or can cause death with regular usage.

With legalization picking up, knowledge is rapidly emerging. The evidence that marijuana is effective at managing chronic pain has been largely anecdotal in years past, but studies are making it clear that it’s more than a coincidence.

One study carried out at McGill University finds that concentrations of marijuana – the highest of which is lower than what you’d find on the street – showed a measurable reduction in pain.

Marijuana is also, in many cases, a well-tolerated treatment that works in tandem with other forms of holistic wellness to drastically improve quality of life. Potential patients who are curious about where marijuana can fit into their pain management plan can learn more at

Prescription painkillers, in the end, are very effective at reducing pain. Yet an attitudinal shift is occurring as many patients become rightfully fearful of addiction and other side effects. Before filling that prescription, it never hurts to ask as many health professionals as you can about pain treatment options. There may be a safer, more natural treatment that comes with fewer risks.