The opioid epidemic sweeping the United States killed nearly 35,000 people in 2015, according to the National Institute of Health. At this moment, about 90 people die every day from an opioid overdose. After a massive increase in prescriptions in the late 1990’s prompted widespread misuse of opiates, little was done to counteract the problem. According a report recently released by Drug and Alcohol Dependance, the legalization of medical marijuana greatly lowered the risk of hospitalizations and/or opioid related deaths.
How Great of An Impact Can Marijuana Have?
The study states, “Medical marijuana legalization was associated with 23% and 13% reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse and OPR overdose, respectively.”
This Is Not Out of Nowhere
The results are shocking, anything which lowers the risk of opioid elated overdose by 13% should be pursued to the fullest extent. This is not the only study that has come to this conclusion. There have been many studies over the years proving that marijuana does in fact lower opioid addiction and opioid overdose rates. In 2010, states with legalized medical marijuana programs saw 1,700 fewer opiate-related deaths.
Very Few Negative Consequences
One major criticism of medical marijuana legalization is the fact that it would increase the number of hospitalizations from marijuana use. But, according to this study, “Medical marijuana polices had no associations with marijuana-related hospitalizations.”
A Step Towards Ending The Opioid Epidemic
It is talked about all the time; How do we fix this “opioid epidemic?” You hear it from doctors and politicians alike. This study goes along way in proving that medical marijuana legalization is a part of the solution. While we have no way of knowing just how much of an impact this would have nationwide, we do know that it can have a positive impact.
Yet still, people like Attorney General Jeff Sessions still believe that marijuana raises the levels of opioid addiction. So long as Sessions and others in power deny the facts regarding marijuana’s effectiveness in lessening the negative effects of the opioid epidemic sweeping throughout the United States, then the problem will continue to get worse.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.