Legalizing medical marijuana could help curb the opioid epidemic

04 April, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Judith Dennis
  • Editorial The

Two new studies released on Monday, April 2, 2018 suggest that legalization of marijuana may reduce the prescribing of opioids.

Opioid prescriptions tend to decrease in USA states that adopt medical marijuana laws or legalize recreational use of pot, two different research teams have concluded.

As the authors of one study summed it up, "These findings further strengthen arguments in favor of considering medical applications of cannabis as one tool in the policy arsenal that can be used to diminish the harm of prescription opioids". The number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses continues to rise; there were more than 42,000 US 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.

Opioids are a class of strong pain medications, including drugs such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen). Overdose deaths rose 21.5 percent in 2016, a much sharper spike than the 11.4 percent increase seen the previous year.

A separate study of adults insured by Medicaid, the United States health program for the poor, found medical marijuana laws associated with an nearly 6% decline in opioid prescriptions. Although many individuals believe that the opioid crisis is mainly focused on the overprescription of these drugs, it is clear that there is a large group of individuals who are using black market opioids, that could benefit from marijuana use instead. They compared opioid prescribing patterns between states with medical or recreational pot and those that have taken a hard line against weed. A 2016 law mandates that doctors check the database before prescribing opioids, to make sure patients aren't doubling up. They found that the rates of opioid prescribing in states that had legalized medical marijuana dropped by 5.9 percent annually, on average. "Papers like these two suggest that cannabis may play a role".

"I think at this point, with patients dying every day as a result of opioid use disorder, we need to consider all possible solutions to the crisis", said Dr. Kevin Hill, director of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The National Safety Council reported that employers are taking the biggest toll in the crisis- losing eligible workers to addiction, reporting that "certain industries like construction and manufacturing, report increasing difficulties in filling open positions". Patients who were once trying to relieve pain are now addicted to the drugs.

"Marijuana is one of the potential alternative drugs that can provide relief from pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose", Wen and Hockenberry write.

Recommended:



Popular

Trump's EPA officially starts the fight to lower vehicle emissions standards
That would be based on all vehicles in the cars and light trucks categories across an automaker's line-up. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said in a statement Monday outlining the decision.

Countdown to China's space station's fiery return to Earth
Mr McDowell has also pointed out that if part of the space station lands in your garden "it's not yours, it's still China's". The predictions for when Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will come crashing back to Earth are becoming more and more exact.

Download Fortnite For iOS: Available To Everyone Without Invite Code
You will need to have at least an iPhone 6S/SE, or alternatively an iPad Mini 4, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 or iPad 2017 device. Everyone is invited, so long as the dance is original and fits "the playful personality of Fortnite ".

The "Condom Snorting Challenge" Is Even Worse Than It Sounds
The years-old risky dare has resurfaced in recent days as the latest perverse, potentially life-threatening internet challenge . They discovered that an oral-sex mishap caused her to inhale a condom into her lung, which led to its partial collapse.

South Africa vs Australia, 2018: 4th Test, Day 2 - Statistical Highlights
Smith added: "I am deeply sorry, I love the game of cricket, I love kids wanting to play the great game of cricket that I love". But Australia was still heading for an on-field embarrassment in a week of humiliation.

Windows bends for Azure, Terry Myerson says soodbye to Microsoft
With Myerson's departure, Panos Panay will step up to the title of chief product officer. The direction Microsoft is taking is apparently clear for a while.

Galaxy's Ashley Cole: LAFC fans 'think they're the best team in LA'
Don't worry about my age. "I am not arrogant, I am confident". "After three months I conquered England and they said I was flying. But Ibrahimovic, who could debut against rivals Los Angeles FC Saturday, said he was eager to deliver for the Galaxy.

VA governor honors Vietnam vets on 45th anniversary of troop withdrawal
Veterans received lapel pins to mark the 50th anniversary and were paid tribute for their sacrifices during the war. Forty-five years ago it marked the day the last American troops left Vietnam soil.

Stephens sets up title clash with Ostapenko
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, now ranked 186 in the world, was beaten by USA world number 12 Sloane Stephens 6-3, 2-6, 1-6 in the Miami Open 2018 semifinal, BelTA has learned.

Immigrants react to proposed citizenship question
This question has not been tested in a modern census environment, nor is there time to test the question before the 2020 census. Therein lies the problem with the Trump administration's plan to inquire about citizenship status during the 2020 census.