Study: Opioid Epidemic Plummets in ‘Legal Marijuana States’

Study: Opioid Epidemic Plummets in ‘Legal Marijuana States’

Medical cannabis laws helping the opioid problem

People who are able to access legal marijuana reduced the dependence on addictive opioid according to two news tidies published by American Medical Association found.

“Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population,” concludes one paper from researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens.

“This finding was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.” 

Scientists at the University of Kentucky and Emory University said “marijuana is one of the potential nonopioid alternatives that can relieve pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose.”

Some states such as Iowa are trying to stop the spread of opioid use in young people by filing lawsuits against Big Pharma for their ‘clever’ and ‘manipulative’ marketing to millennials.

Forbes reports: It found that laws allowing medical cannabis or recreational marijuana “have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose.”

“Marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic,” the researchers conclude.

The two papers, released Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine, a publication of the AMA, looked at use of opioids such as fentanyl by people enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, with both examinations finding that states with legal marijuana access saw lower reliance on the pharmaceutical drugs.

And the easier the access to legal marijuana, the lower the rate of opioid prescribing.

“States with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses filled; states with home cultivation only [laws] saw 1.792 million fewer filled daily doses,” one of the studies, which focused on medical cannabis laws, found.

The other new paper shows that while medical marijuana is associated with reduced opioid prescriptions, recreational laws have an even greater effect.

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