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Study: Medical Cannabis Access Associated With Reduced Opioid Abuse

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 14, 2015

    Study: Medical Cannabis Access Associated With Reduced Opioid AbuseStates that permit qualified patients to access medical marijuana via dispensaries possess lower rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-partisan think-tank.

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation and the University of California, Irvine assessed the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use, as measured by treatment admissions for opioid pain reliever addiction (compiled from the years 1992 to 2012) and by state-level opioid overdose deaths (compiled from the years 1999 to 2013).

    “[S]tates permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not,” authors reported. They found that women over the age of 40 showed the most significant decrease in problematic opioid use.

    Data published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine reported that the enactment of statewide medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws,” investigators reported.

    Overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have increased dramatically over the past decade. While fewer than 4,100 opiate-induced fatalities were reported for the year 1999, by 2010 this figure rose to over 16,600 according to an analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control.

    An abstract of the study, “Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?”, is available online here.

    15 responses to “Study: Medical Cannabis Access Associated With Reduced Opioid Abuse”

    1. Julian says:

      @Dave,
      Stop calling our judges and legislators dumb, calm down and smoke a bowl, Dave, you’re going to give yourself an aneurism!

      It’s easier to believe in ignorance than betrayal, I know, but nobody gets into the judges robe without their best game face on.

      Corrupt? Entitled and ignorant of every day American struggles? Purchased by limitless campaign donations? Hell yes, i’ll buy that, but dumb they are not. There are too many Congressman consciously defying the will of the people in states without voter initiatives. Ok, so some of them, like my Senator, Ted Cruz, will sing campy, horrible, off-tune, humiliating, sado-massochistic campaign songs just to gain a buck on a made-to-fail money-laundering presidential campaign, but that loser is laughing all the way to the bank…

      But he who laughs last is he who wins… Wait for iiiit…
      (Cruz’ family must be SO proud…)

      The time isn’t right for the courts. The Supreme Court needs a clear population majority of legislative voting in pro marijuana states, not only from voter initiatives, but from tangible, evolved and Democracy tested written laws in order to write their own judgements, which won’t happen until next November.. (Albeit not that far away). And asset forfeitures, corrupt agendas and private-prison-kickbacks aside, Federal Judges are kicking the can to Congress who REALLY needs to DO their #£€!¥% JOB!

      POLL after POLL, veteran suicide due to PTSD treatable with marijuana, children with epilepsy, and now a woman’s alleged suicide in a Houston prison is under investigation after she was imprisoned for guess what? Failing to signal in a passing lane!!!?

      I will agree with you on this, Dave; At least with Congress; There is a hubris that is being exposed, and the excess pride of our tragic heroes is indeed an expression of self-imposed dumbness that nearly defies description. What can we say? Some Congressman just can’t see the hemp from the trees…

      What we’re up against here is our Democratic uprising against a rogue, corrupt police state out of our own DOJ.
      Grab your vaporizer, and Call your Congressman;
      It’s our attorney general and President Obama literally at war with certain Congressman with private interests within agencies of our DOJ. Heads will roll…

    2. Dave Evans says:

      Julian, as soon as illegal “mandatory minimum” sentencing laws passed our courts should have knocked them down. These idiot judges constantly claim to chafe under these illegal laws, so why do these fools continue acting like they don’t know they are illegal??? They have to turn off half of their brains just to get through the day it would appear. Its not “activism”, it doing the job of the Judicial Branch. Why do you folks think people keep bringing it up? It is indeed their job to protect the public from exactly such laws the have no basis in reality.

    3. Wounded says:

      I’ve taken opioid pain killers for over twenty five years now.I have good days and bad ones.A bad day is when the pain is so great that I’ve maxed out the dosage and the only thing I can do is drink alcohol. It’s Russian roulette with pills and the bottle.
      Why would anyone with any compassion for the living make this my only choice.

    4. Dave Evans says:

      “Why would anyone with any compassion for the living make this my only choice.” They claim their hands are tied. Tied by what I’d love to know. I believe it is a bullshit excuse, some people just want sick folks to die sooner than later, they have no compassion. The FDA has no trouble Okaying deadly drugs, but they cannot be troubled to try marijuana, “our hands tied by invisible bonds of ignorance!” Highly regarded retards keep repeating it like it means something other than “Fuck-you, fuck your quality of life, take our pills and be happy with all their ‘side-effects'”.

    5. Website says:

      There are different type of people, some use it just for high and are potentially addict with this, and whose for whom it’s a cure. Of course, doctors much more qualified to determine this categories and help patients with their healthcare decisions. My doctor recommended me to use it for my skin problems. I used to have an awful eczema and it has helped.

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