Study Reveals that Medical Cannabis May Help Lessen Opioid Use

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  1. Bud

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    by ireadculture | September 21, 2016
    [​IMG]A recent study conducted by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has found that states with medical cannabis laws have seen a decrease in drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes and tested positive for opioids—and goes on to state that medical cannabis has aided in the decrease of opioid use for those states.

    Researchers took a look at data between 1999 and 2013 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which covers 18 states that test for alcohol and drugs in drivers who died within an hour of crashing. As a result, evidence has shown that opioid use for drivers who live in states that have legalized medical cannabis were greatly reduced, according to a Columbia University article.

    “We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” said June H. Kim, lead author of the study.

    The study looked at drivers between the ages of 21 and 40, and found that out of a total of 68,394 reviewed drivers, 42 percent were fatally injured in states that have medical cannabis laws, 25 percent died before a cannabis law went into effect and 33 percent died in states with no medical cannabis laws at all.

    “The trend may have been particularly strong among the age group surveyed because minimum age requirements restrict access to medical marijuana to patients age 21 and older, and most medical marijuana patients are younger than 45,” stated Kim. The Columbia University article also notes that the authors believe that if medical cannabis is embraced by older generations, those individuals would also see a similar reduction of opioid use when driving.

    This unique study suggests that medical cannabis is becoming more popular than opioids, and is also known to be less harmful too. But according to Kim, more time is needed to determine the change between opioids and cannabis, “As states with these laws move toward legalizing marijuana more broadly for recreational purposes, future studies are needed to assess the impact these laws may have on opioid use,” Kim continued.

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