Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Could Medical Pot Help Curb the Opioid Abuse Crisis?

White House launches a new website to solicit opioid addiction stories Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
| 04 April, 2018, 02:08

The number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses continues to rise; there were more than 42,000 USA deaths from this cause in 2016, up from 33,000 deaths in 2015, according to a March 30 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But states with medical pot dispensaries filled 3.7 million fewer daily doses, and states with home cultivation filled 1.8 million fewer doses, they said.

When states implemented medical marijuana laws, however, the annual opioid prescription rate declined by nearly 6%, or approximately 39 fewer prescriptions for every 1,000 people enrolled in Medicaid each year.

The report has found specifically that legalizing medical marijuana is highly associated with lower levels of opioid related deaths, in states that have put forth legislation to make marijuana legal.

The study of Medicaid patients examined the association between opioid prescribing rates and state marijuana laws implemented from 2011 to 2016.

Studies have found medical pot is effective in treating chronic pain, Bradford said. In Prescription Nation, a digest analyzing how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, the Council assigned its highest mark of "Improving" to Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, DC, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.


The National Safety Council has pegged the states which they consider the leaders in implementing policies to help combat the deadly opioid epidemic.

Both studies were released Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, almost 80 percent of heroin addicts were hooked after using prescription drugs.

"The potential of these marijuana (legalisation) policies to reduce the use and consequences of addictive opioids deserves consideration especially in states that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic", Wen said by email.

Neither study proves that legalising marijuana causes a decline in opioid prescriptions.

Legalisation of marijuana may play a role in fighting the ongoing U.S. opioid crisis. Previously published research has indicated that states with medical cannabis laws have shown up to a 25% reduction in opioid deaths and that states with medical cannabis dispensaries have shown reductions in opioid overdose deaths by as much as 40%.

The two studies have some limitations, Dr. Kevin Hill of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Andrew Saxon of the University of Washington in Seattle wrote in an accompanying editorial. It remains highly prevalent that the use of medicinal marijuana can benefit those who are addicted to different types of opioid-based drugs. The fast-growing opioid crisis is more relevant than HIV/AIDS today and needs more funding to educate people and provide more treatment facilities.

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