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American Medical Association Publishes Findings of Lower Opioid Prescriptions Filled Due to Marijuana Legalization

States with Dispensaries Have Seen a Drop of 3.742 Million Opioid Prescription Doses Filled Daily

More evidence is being revealed that marijuana is slowing the use of prescription opioids according to the American Medical Association. Cannabis advocates have for a long time argued that marijuana legalization and an organized legal cannabis system could reduce the amount of prescription opioids prescribed and combat the opioid epidemic. Evidence out of Colorado, where marijuana legalization has been in place since 2014, has also provided data showing that the rate of opioid overdose deaths in the state is dropping.

While the federal government has ignored any and all evidence that marijuana can be used in opioid addiction treatment or that it could prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place, they may not be able to ignore the papers from the University of Georgia, Athens or the University of Kentucky or Emory University that have collectively put together empirical data that marijuana legalization is absolutely having an effect on the amount of people taking prescription opioid based drugs. The papers were published by the American Medical Association.

“Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population,” concludes one¬†paper from researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens. “This finding was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.”

The second study, from scientists at the University of Kentucky and Emory University, noted that “marijuana is one of the potential nonopioid alternatives that can relieve pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose.” It found that laws allowing medical cannabis or recreational marijuana “have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose.”

“Marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic,” the researchers conclude.

“States with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses filled; states with home cultivation only¬†[laws] saw 1.792 million fewer filled daily doses,” one of the studies, which focused on medical cannabis laws, found.

“State implementation of medical marijuana laws was associated with a 5.88% lower rate of opioid prescribing,” the authors wrote. “Moreover, the implementation of adult-use marijuana laws, which all occurred in states with existing medical marijuana laws, was associated with a 6.38% lower rate of opioid prescribing.”

This sort of data ranging from the entirety of the United States that has legalized marijuana is the sort of cannabis news that the government should not be able to ignore. Do you believe this information is enough to affect the Trump administration’s perspectives on marijuana?

read more at forbes.com

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