Legal Marijuana States Show Reduction in Opioid Overdoses

Legal Marijuana States Show Reduction in Opioid Overdoses

A new study reinforces what many others before have also indicated. According to a study by the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, opioid use is way down in states that have legalized medical marijuana. In fact, numbers show that hospital related visits that are opioid related, are down 23 percent. Meanwhile, there has been no rise in hospital visits that relate to marijuana use.

Replacing Opioids with Medical Marijuana

Legal marijuana states are opting to substitute cannabis for opioids.
Legal marijuana states are opting to substitute cannabis for opioids.

The study shows that marijuana has been effective for eliminating the need for opioids to such a large degree. There is currently an opioid epidemic across the nation with thousands dying each year from overdoses. No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose. The study provides proof that marijuana’s medical benefits can be of assistance to those in pain; enough so that all 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana have been able to benefit greatly from the plant’s medicinal purposes, curbing the need for opioids, which are a life threatening medication for pain sufferers to be dependent on.

The Archaic Views of Jeff Sessions

The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has been speaking out against marijuana for many years now and his new position in the Trump administration has made many marijuana industry people and advocates very nervous. Especially more recently as he and press secretary Sean Spicer have indicated that a crackdown may be on its way. Sessions has called medical marijuana “overrated” and even recently told the National Association of Attorney Generals, “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just – almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.” Well, it has.

Further Research Needed

medical marijuana vs opioids
As is the case with so many marijuana-related studies, further research is needed.

This is not the only study to prove this point. A clear reduction on opioid dependency is usually discovered in states that have legalized medical marijuana. One study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014, observed a 25 percent drop in opioid overdose in states with legalized marijuana. Yuyan Shi, the study’s author and a public health professor at the University of California, San Diego said, “This study and a few others show some evidence regarding the potential positive benefits of legalizing marijuana to reduce opioid use and abuse but they are still preliminary.” More research is needed to understand the best dosages and uncover the best methods.

For now, the one thing that is proven is that marijuana is being successfully used to treat opioid addiction and provide the same benefits to patients. Given the tense political climate surrounding the plant right now, these kinds of studies go a long way in helping to provide people with a clear foundation for marijuana’s many benefits. At the end of the day, it’s those in need who will receive the victory.



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