A new study shows that in US-States where medical cannabis is legal, less opiates are prescribed!
A report by the ‘National Institute of Drug Abuse’ in the US from the beginning of this year shows a growing number of people suffering from opioid addictions. The unpleasant statistics record almost three times increase in the number of deaths in the USA due to overdose with prescription medications in the span of 10 years.
The United States is struggling with an opioid epidemic that’s claimed more than 300,000 lives since it began. Two current opioid addiction treatments are methadone and buprenorphine, which work on the same opioid receptors as heroin and other opioids.
The current situation, often referred to as “opioid epidemic”, has its roots in the early 90s of the past century. At that time prescription drugs and strong painkillers containing oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl became the number one prescribed medications, reaching 58 prescriptions per 100 American citizens in 2017. This epidemic has urged doctors and scientists to try and find better solutions for pain management and postoperative care.
Many studies have been done regarding how the legal access to marijuana can help with this issue. A new study found that states with medical cannabis laws have seen a drop in opioid prescriptions for people aged 55 and younger. Researchers at the University of Texas – Galveston investigated the patterns of opioid prescriptions in states with legalized medical marijuana for the past 15 years and came to these conclusions. Another Texas study, by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, reveals that it may be possible to combine marijuana and opioids for pain treatment. The combination of the two lowers the amount of opioids needed by patients to manage their pain, which in turn makes them less susceptible to addictions and overdosing.
Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego and Weill Cornell Medical College last year showed even some practical benefits for the US federal government. While also acknowledging the lower use of opioids where medical cannabis is prescribed as form of pain management, they calculated that medical cannabis legalization in states that have so far adopted it saves the federal government by a significant amount in annual Medicaid spending.
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