For years now, multiple studies have suggested that medical marijuana may help wean opioid users off the highly addictive substance. Fresh research from the American Journal of Public Health concludes that “legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths.”
“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than six percent in the following two years,” according to Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey E. Barnett, Chris Delcher and Alexander C. Wagenaar, the co-authors of the research.
The data discovered that the 6.5 percent reduction represented “a reversal of” a 14-year increasing trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado since 2000. The researchers, however, were quick to point out that the findings were preliminary. “As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis,” the report said.
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But the news is promising, considering the opioid addiction epidemic spreading across the nation. Health officials report the number of opioid overdoses during this time frame.quadrupled between 1999 and 2015. The CDC reports 188,000 people have died from
The research appears to be a complete contradiction of the current administration — most notably Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to Sessions, the concept that cannabis could be used as a remedy to the opioid epidemic is “stupid” and “hyped.”
“I’ve heard people say we could solve our heroin problem with marijuana. How stupid is that? Give me a break,” Sessions said in a speech in March.
According a story from Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham:
While numerous studies have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid overdose deaths, this report is one of the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths.
Marijuana is often highly effective at treating the same types of chronic pain that patients are often prescribed opiates for. Given the choice between marijuana and opiates, many patients appear to be opting for the former.
From a public health standpoint, this is a positive development, considering that relative to opiates, marijuana carries essentially zero risk of fatal overdose.