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Study: Painkiller Overdoses Decline in Medical Marijuana States

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Medical marijuana has become a viable alternative for chronic pain management and many people across the country are using it to replace prescription painkillers. Thanks to states where medical marijuana is legalized, usage and overdose rates from opioids have dropped drastically.

Death records from a period of 1999 – 2010 were analyzed in states where medical marijuana is legal. The data collected found that these states had a 25 percent decrease in opioid-induced overdoses, according to SF Gate. The study was posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Overdose numbers are still high in most states without medical marijuana.

“Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time,” said the study’s lead researcher and author, Marcus Bachhuber, MD.

Colleen Barry said, “… if the opioid crisis has taught us anything, it should be that careful regulation, stringent oversight and ongoing evaluation are all absolutely essentially to establishing an environment that protects the public’s health.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledge that medical marijuana is a safer alternative. The CDC said, “Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear. For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”

Opioid overdoses have become an epidemic in the United States. Recently, medical marijuana has started to become a safe and natural replacement for peoples’ pharmaceuticals.