States With Legal Medical Marijuana have Fewer Opioid-Related Deaths
JAMA Internal Medicine recently published a study on the correlation between the legal use of medical marijuana and opioid-related deaths. The study, which was led by scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, looked at the rates of death caused by opioids, like Percocet and OxyContin, between the years of 1999 and 2010. They examined the death rates in all states, specifically the 13 states that allow legal use of medical marijuana. What they found was that in these 13 states, there was a 24.8 percent lower yearly opioid overdose rate. This percentage is predicted to increase over time.
Doctors are now looking to use medical marijuana as a safer painkiller option. Many doctors in states with legal medical marijuana are lowering dosages of opioids for patients and supplementing this with medical marijuana to decrease the chances of overdose. Additionally, there are some doctors that only prescribe medical marijuana as opposed to the harsher drugs. As the number of states allowing medical marijuana increases, we should see an increase in prescriptions of medical marijuana and a national decrease in opioid-related overdoses.