Medical marijuana legalization results in states having 25 percent fewer fatal prescription drug overdoses


According to the study published in the latest installment of JAMA Internal Medicine, the 13 states in America that have legalized the use of medical marijuana for patients with valid prescriptions see a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose rate that those where weed can’t legally be offered to treat ailments.

AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown
AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown

Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center writes in the study that “States that implemented medical marijuana laws appear to have lower annual opioid analgesic overdoses death rates (both from prescription pain killers and illicit drugs such as heroin) than states without such laws,” but acknowledged that the exact reason isn’t quite clear at this point.

“Prescriptions for opioid painkillers for chronic pain have increased in the United States and so have overdose deaths. However, less attention has been focused on how the availability of alternative nonopioid treatment, such as medical marijuana, may affect overdose rates,” his team wrote.

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