Survey: Marijuana Safer Than Opioids for Pain Control

Two-thirds of respondents said they would use the drug if prescribed by a physician

A new Yahoo News/Marist Poll has addressed the effect of marijuana use on relationships, the changing social norms surrounding the use of the drug, and the debate over its legalization. Among the survey results, a majority of the respondents said that using a doctor’s prescription of an opioid, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin, for pain is more of a health risk than using a doctor’s prescription of marijuana.

The greatest benefit that respondents saw in the use of marijuana was that it has a positive effect in the management of medical problems or conditions (37%). One-third (33%) of regular marijuana users described the greatest benefit of marijuana as its potential to reduce stress and anxiety.

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) thought the Trump administration should not be as strict as the Obama administration on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. One-quarter (25%) believed that the same enforcement of federal law was appropriate, and 20% said greater enforcement was required. Most current marijuana users (71%) and those who have tried the drug (60%) thought that the Trump administration should be more lenient than the Obama administration.

While the respondents generally supported the legalization of medical marijuana, 69% did not think it would be acceptable for a pregnant woman to use it to ease the discomfort of her pregnancy. Of note, half of current marijuana users and 60% of those who have tried it did not think it would be acceptable for pregnant women to use marijuana.

There was also a divide about whether children should be prescribed marijuana if it is legal and medically necessary. Almost half (47%) of the respondents believed it should be allowed, while an equal number (46%) disagreed. Most of those who had tried marijuana (56%) and those who currently use marijuana (63%) thought that prescribing medical marijuana to children should be permitted.

If a doctor prescribed marijuana for pain, approximately two-thirds of the respondents (66%) said they would be likely to use it. Current marijuana users (96%) and those who have tried marijuana (82%) were most likely to do so.

With regard to the health risks of marijuana use, 67% of respondents said using a doctor’s prescription for an opioid, such as Vicodin or OxyContin, was a greater risk than using a doctor’s prescription for marijuana.

The survey, conducted from March 1 through March 7, 2017, involved 1,122 adults (18 years of age and older) residing in the contiguous United States. The subjects were contacted via landline or mobile phone numbers.

Source: MaristPoll; April 17, 2017.