Opioid Abuse Rates Lower In States With Legal Cannabis

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Recent studies conducted by Castlight Health show a marked decrease in opioid addiction and opioid deaths caused by overdoses in the specific states that have made medical marijuana use legal. In spite of that fact, however, the Federal Government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I illegal substance. That particular category of narcotics medications is deemed as having no health benefits whatsoever in addition to being considered the most dangerous among all drugs. The truth is, however, that U.S. anti-cannabis law critics are saying that these studies are solid evidence that cannabis should undergo a rescheduling in order to provide more widespread availability to those that need it.



As an example of the addictive nature and common use of opioid painkillers, some research figures are included in the following findings regarding opioid abuse:

– There are almost two million Americans abusing prescription opioids

– From 1999-2010, we saw a four-fold increase in opioid painkiller sales

– Doctors in the U.S. wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions in 2012

– Each year 16,000 people are losing their lives prescription opioid overdoses

– Approximately two million Americans are abusing prescription opioids

Further research results show that, in states permitting the opening of marijuana dispensaries, the accessibility of medical marijuana could have the potential for helping patients with reducing highly addictive painkiller abuse. At a time when people are starting to look for methods for addressing the problems of opioid addiction in the U.S., a number of them are looking to medical marijuana as a potential long- term solution. Arguments that back up this premise include those that say that cannabis could be successful in providing a more natural method for the treatment of pain and numerous assorted health conditions, as well as being much safer. A DEA memo that was released in early May revealed that they could come to a decision about considering cannabis rescheduling at a point somewhere toward the end of this summer.

The numbers in the study show that rates of opioid abuse are way lower in states where medical marijuana use is actually legal. That makes this the bright spot in their report. The following are some of the other findings:

– In states where medical marijuana use is not legal, 5.4 percent of individuals in possession of opioid prescriptions are found to be abusing those drugs.

– In states where medical marijuana use is legal, there is a significant drop in those numbers and less than 2.8 percent are abusing narcotics medications.

– A 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research study is also aligned with the results of the recent report findings.

Examples of opioids include codeine, morphine, and oxycodone. These narcotics medications are extremely potent painkillers and can be highly addictive. According to the Castlight Health study, opioid abuse has been responsible for taking an alarming toll on the family and friends of addicted individuals, as well as on the individuals themselves. These drugs could also end up leading to more dangerous addictions like heroin. They could also lead to overdoses. Nevertheless, opioid drugs are among those that are most frequently prescribed by doctors all over the country.

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