Login

Legalizing Cannabis Could Offset Opioid Crisis, New Studies Suggest

Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population

Legal Marijuana Reduces Opioid Addiciton

Medical cannabis experts and scientists have been saying it for a long time, now the American Medical Association is chiming in. And we quote: "Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population."

A paper done by researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, stated that this finding “was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.”

A second study, from the University of Kentucky and Emory University also noted that: “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.”

The two papers, published Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine, found that “The potential of marijuana liberalization to reduce the use and consequences of prescription opioids among Medicaid enrollees deserves consideration during the policy discussions about marijuana reform and the opioid epidemic.”

Is this potential getting consideration in policy discussions about cannabis and the opioid epidemic?

Sadly, the answer is no because those lawmakers in charge of dealing with the crisis that kills, on average, 115 American per day don’t believe in science and seem to have an irrational rejection of marijuana’s proven benefits.

The University of Georgia study also showed that while MMJ is associated with reduced opioid prescriptions, recreational laws have an even greater effect.

“State implementation of medical marijuana laws was associated with a 5.88% lower rate of opioid prescribing," the authors wrote, and in states with legal recreational cannabis, there was a 6.38% lower rate of opioid prescribing.

Can it be any clearer?

“This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.

“And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”

Opioid overdose has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000, more than the number of Americans killed in World War II.

Stories