Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25% in States that Legalized Medical Marijuana

Published On August 31, 2016 » 1014 Views» All Articles
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Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25% in States that Legalized Medical Marijuana

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A study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in 2014 made a pretty astounding discovery. Each state that had legalized medical marijuana in the past ten years (13 states between 1999 and 2010) experienced a 25% reduction in prescription opiate overdoses.

Colleen Barry, co-author of the study and health policy researcher at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, stated that “The difference is quite striking.” And went on to say that the trend became noticeable in every state just one year after marijuana had been legalized for medicinal use.

In the study, it is suggested that since patients with chronic pain have been allowed to substitute or supplement marijuana for pain medications, they are able to lower their dose, or completely stop taking the opiate painkillers. Due to this, they are at a decreased risk for overdose.

Barry says that it is “basically impossible” to overdose on pot, and speculates that the substitution is the most reasonable explanation behind the reduction in overdose deaths.

With all of that information, the conclusion that can be drawn is that marijuana does indeed have the potential to drop the percentage of overdose deaths due to the fact that less opiate pain medication would be in circulation if more people had the option to substitute or supplement marijuana in their pain management routine. Furthermore, if more states were open to medical marijuana as well as addiction treatment and prevention, we would likely see the percentage of overdose deaths lowered ten-fold.

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