There’s one thing that appears to be saving more lives during the opioid epidemic than anything else – medical cannabis. While government touts meaningless attempts at addressing the problem – paying lip service to the people while protecting Big Pharma’s profits and filling jails – people are saving themselves by turning to an ancient plant.
Yet another scientific study has confirmed that medical cannabis access reduces harm from opioid abuse among the population. A recent study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependency journal found that states with legal medical cannabis experience fewer hospitalizations related to opioids.
“Medical marijuana legalization was associated with 23% and 13% reductions in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse and [opioid pain reliever] OPR overdose, respectively; lagged effects were observed after policy implementation.”
Researchers from the University of California analyzed hospital administrative records for the period of 1997 to 2014. The author reported:
“This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. ... We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year."
The data also show that cannabis-related hospitalizations did not increase after legalization, contrary to what prohibitionists would have you believe.
“While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations."
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This study is just the latest in a series of scientific inquiries on the effects of medical cannabis policy on the raging opioid epidemic, spurred by Big Pharma companies such as Purdue Pharma which knowingly deceived doctors and patients while turning a blind eye to black market OxyContin trafficking.
A 2014 study looked at 11 years of data, finding that deaths from opioid painkillers plummet in states with legal weed. A 2015 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that states with medical cannabis dispensaries have reduced levels of opioid addiction and deaths.
The same year, a survey discovered that 80% of respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription pills. Big Pharma must have been paying attention, as companies such as Insys Therapeutics were helping to fund propaganda campaigns against numerous state-level cannabis legalization initiatives.
In 2016, another study confirmed the positive effects of legal medical cannabis. Researchers looked at 17 states over a three-year period (2010-2013), showing yet again that prescription drug use falls in legal weed states.
“Generally, we found that when a medical marijuana law went into effect, prescribing for FDA-approved prescription drugs under Medicare Part D fell substantially,” said researchers. They estimated that if all 50 states would have legal cannabis therapy, $486 million in prescription drug savings could be achieved annually.
You would think this to be good news for federal government, which presumably should be looking for ways to reduce spending. However, when Congress developed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, all attempts to including medical cannabis research or use were blocked -- despite clear data on its ability to address the opioid epidemic.
Clearly, the interests of Big Pharma continue to be protected by government at the expense of the people’s health.
Despite the best efforts of crony lawmakers and a DEA floundering in ignorance by keeping cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug with “ no medical use,” people are fully awake to the reality of medical cannabis, with nearly 90 percent saying it should be legal.