Legalized Medical Cannabis Links to Opioid Deaths Fall: Study


25 states have approved the use of medical cannabis and currently, there are 19 states that allow patients to prescribe pot from dispensaries. According to a study, the legalization of medical marijuana reduces the opioid abuse and death numbers due to overdose.

The study claims that in states where medical cannabis is legal, there are lesser people who use opioid. June H. Kim, lead author of the study said that the result should decrease the use of opioid over time. Individuals would substitute opioids with marijuana to treat chronic pains.

The finding, however, did not apply to adults over 40 as it did not find any decrease since medical marijuana program has been operated.

The study seems to corroborate with a previous evidence which claims that the marijuana legalization in the states are linked to lower death rates from opioid overdose, Live Science reported. And the CDC has also noted 19,000 people died of painkiller overdose in 2014 but there has been no report on death due to marijuana overdose, DrugAbuse reported.

Currently, the use of medical marijuana is legal in 25 states with varied restrictions up to a certain degree as regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to Rosalie Pacula, a health economist, the consistent evidence shows that the risk of abusing opioid could be reduced with medical marijuana dispensaries.

For instance, in Maine where medical marijuana dispensaries are approved - the numbers of overdose deaths were reduced by 25 percent, Sunjournal wrote. There are more than 35,000 individuals who switch to medical cannabis to obtain pain reliever.

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