A new study on pain medications has added to the evidence that cannabis may be more effective at managing pain than traditional opioid medications. Medical cannabis community website HelloMD surveyed nearly 3,000 medical marijuana users to ask whether cannabis could be used as an effective substitute for both opioid and non-opioid medications.

The study, which was conducted in cooperation with the University of California Berkeley, found that 97% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that consuming medical cannabis allowed them to decrease their use of opioid painkillers. Additionally, 92% said that they agreed or strongly agreed that cannabis was their preferred method for treating their medical condition. 81% of the respondents said that they felt that cannabis alone was even more effective than a combination of cannabis and opioids.

“The latest publication from the National Academy of Sciences clearly refuted the ‘gateway drug’ theory that using marijuana can lead to opioid addiction, instead finding evidence of cannabis having multiple curative benefits,” said Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer for HelloMD. “Our study further substantiates this. Hopefully this will awaken the public, medical professionals and legislatures to the fact that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive product, available to help fight the opioid epidemic.”

“The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States. The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid related overdoses and dependence,” Amanda Reiman, one of the lead researchers of the study, said. “Cannabis has been used throughout the world for thousands of years to treat pain and other physical and mental health conditions.”

“Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid-based medications,” Reiman continued. “It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over-prescribing and overuse of opioids.”