According to the study, in states where medical marijuana is legal, there was a 25% reduction in deaths caused by legally prescribed opioids.
The study was carried out in the 13 states that legalized medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010. These states were California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Researchers suggest that the striking difference is most likely due to the fact that, in these states, people suffering from chronic pain no longer need to receive prescription opiates to ease their pain, and that instead they may opt for medical marijuana.
Colleen Barry, co-author of the study and health policy researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said that the trend became obvious in each state within a year of pot’s legalization.
On the other hand, not all medical experts are accepting legalization itself as the cause for the decline of overdose-related deaths, but rather a change in culture.
According to Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the chief medical officer at the Phoenix House rehabilitation center, medical marijuana might not be serving as a substitute for prescription painkillers. Instead, he thinks there may be a cultural difference in these states insofar as how primary care doctors approach and treat addiction.
Regardless of the reason why, these are excellent statistics to see. Do you think marijuana should be legalized in more states? SHARE this article and let us know your opinions!