Less Restrictive Marijuana Laws Linked To Reduced Opioid Prescriptions

04 April, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Homer Porter
  • Editorial The

The potential of these marijuana liberalization policies to reduce the use and consequences of addictive opioids deserves consideration especially in states that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

Drug overdoses killed almost 64,000 Americans in 2016, with two-thirds of deaths involving a prescription or illicit opioid, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week. The study has revealed that medical marijuana can lead to lower levels of opioid deaths, which has been identified in studies many times before. The latest studies suggest that such a painkiller already exists - it is called marijuana, and it is legal for medical use in 29 states and for recreational use in nine states plus D.C.

In January 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found significant evidence that cannabis is effective at treating pain in some conditions. Even if patients chose to switch from opioids to medical marijuana, the number was not high enough to reflect lowered opioid use throughout the data.

To investigate this theory, the investigators turned to recent data from the federal insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid. They begin to take more than prescribed, and more often, which leads to overdose.

An average state filled 23 million daily doses of opioids through Medicare's prescription drug plan between 2010 and 2015, Bradford's team found.

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In the U.S., states where medical marijuana was legal averaged 3.7 million fewer opioid doses annually than states where it is banned. The types of costs attributable to opioid abuse - health care costs, criminal justice costs, and lost productivity, for example - are fairly well understood, as is the economic impact of the crisis at the national level,"writes the report which was authored by Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute and Scott Ganz of Georgia Institute of Technology". While some deaths may be due to illegal narcotics like heroin, others are caused by opioid medications like oxycodone, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone.

The second study found a similar effect among people covered by Medicaid.

New research has been released that further highlights the potential role of medical cannabis in combating the Nation's opioid crisis.

Legalisation of marijuana may play a role in fighting the ongoing United States opioid crisis. "But if a patient has tried to treat pain using multiple modalities without success, a trial of medical cannabis may make sense". Hill wrote an editorial that accompanied the two articles. Marijuana may be an alternative to consider for some of these patients, experts say; the cannabinoids in the drug bind to the body's cannabinoid receptors, which are part of an internal pain-relieving system.

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