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So far in the US, 23 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for medical use. Direct benefits are continuously being discovered and confirmed, such as cannabis oil successfully treating epilepsy.

Medical cannabis can even combat the problem of prescription drug overdose that continues to rise in the United States.

A study published by JAMA Internal Medicine found that states with medical cannabis laws had significantly lower rates of opioid overdose mortality. A time-series analysis was conducted from 1999 to 2010, including all 50 states.

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“Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had medical cannabis laws effective prior to 1999. Ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate…compared with states without medical cannabis laws. 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. In secondary analyses, the findings remained similar.”

The US health care system has a reputation for heavy reliance on prescription drugs. Drug companies make billions by securing patents through government and showering doctors with gifts for pushing their pills. Opioid analgesics are prescribed for chronic pain.

According to Americans for Safe Access, “it is estimated that at least 38 million adults suffer from chronic pain, and at least 12 million have used cannabis as a treatment.”

Cannabis can provide direct pain relief and can control nausea, vomiting and dizziness that often accompany severe, prolonged pain. It can also control nausea associated with taking opioid drugs for pain relief.

Medical cannabis laws are pending in other US states. The longer they deny this treatment, the more it will contribute to prescription drug overdose.