The CDC reports that more than 69,029 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2019. About 49000 deaths out of that were directly linked to opioids. That’s higher than the number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan. Could legalized marijuana be our best ally in the war against opioid-related deaths?
States that have legalized marijuana have less opioid deaths
Researchers sat down to analyze opioid deaths versus marijuana laws in 50 states between 1999 and 2010. At that time, only 13 states had legalized medical marijuana. The results of the study showed that opioid deaths were lower in those 13 states.
A study conducted by the University of Georgia shows that states that have medical marijuana dispensaries have the lowest cases of opioid addiction and related deaths. These states had 25 % lower cases of drug overdose deaths. The situation is different in other states or countries that are yet to legalize the medicinal herb.
The legalization of medical marijuana allows physicians to prescribe medical marijuana as a safer option against chronic pain. That reduces the rampant prescription of pharmacological opioids. Further evidence suggests that cannabis can directly function as a treatment against opioid use disorder, as we will explore later on.
Marijuana has less risk for overdose and addiction
Data shows that states that have legalized marijuana have the lowest cases of opioid addictions and deaths. New medical marijuana laws and the new freedom they confer to users have led to a general increased state of awareness about substance abuse and its dangers. One study shows that marijuana can safely produce a high effect on stress reduction without the risk of overdose and addiction.
Legalizing it makes it freely available to those in need. Cannabis can replace the dangerous opioids on the streets from hydromorphone to oxycodone and fentanyl. The demand for marijuana has significantly increased in the states where it has been legalized, driving down the market for the dangerous and rightly outlawed opioids.
Cannabis accelerates healing from addiction
Once you are addicted, it can be hard to break the habit of whether its street drugs or prescription medication. Many times, people trying to wean themselves off opioids have fallen back to it helplessly after encountering triggers such as smells, sights, and even former ‘partners in crime.’ Studies now show that the CBD in cannabis can help to get over addiction once and forever.
One research published in the Scientific American states that CBD can dampen the neurochemical excitements that lead to cravings in persons trying to overcome opiate addiction. Yasmin Hurd, Ph.D., the lead researcher found that people with a heroin use disorder had reduced cravings for a whole week after a single dose of CBD.
These findings prove the benefits of marijuana and its potential in reversing the current opioid crisis. Where currently behavioral therapies and anti-opioid addiction medication have failed to help people in overcoming addiction, the combined use of CBD with these therapies may lead to positive outcomes.
Healing without the addictive ‘high’
75% of opioid deaths are related to prescription medications for pain and long term illness. People living with long terms pain issues such as lower back pain and conditions like cancer have for long had to endure the use of unsafe medications. The pharmacological drugs prescribed in these cases, especially opiate painkillers, majorly drove the opioid crisis to its current pandemic-like state.
The legalization of medical marijuana gives patients a new alternative for pain therapy that has no addictive high. The main medicinal component in cannabis, CBD (cannabidiol) has null intoxicating properties. The use of CBD strains for pain therapy effectively replaces the dangerous and addictive pharmacological pain killers.
Gives people control over their health
A significant fraction of the opioid addiction numbers and deaths, as explored earlier, are victims of prescription medications. The Addiction Center reports that of 259 million opioid painkiller prescriptions made in 2012, 2 million people later developed an addiction. These people did not drive themselves into an unfortunate situation. They were innocent and in need of treatment for various health conditions only to find themselves on the dark side of things.
There is an increasing awareness of the dangers of prescription pain medication. The legalization of marijuana puts people in charge of their health. Today, in states that have legalized marijuana, you can choose to use cannabis therapy for your pain treatment as an option. That was not the case before. People died because they had no choice.
Eyes are opening, and the stigma is waning
Back in the days, the use of marijuana was associated with minority and lower-class individuals. Today, with the increasing medical discoveries on the benefits of cannabis on human health, using marijuana is no longer branded as an ‘outlawed’ or ‘junkie’ behavior.
You can take control of your health without getting into trouble with the law. Get yourself a medical marijuana card today. You will have unlimited access to dispensaries and high-quality marijuana. At MMJ Doctor, we will help you get a medical marijuana license fast and easy. Book an appointment to get started.