New studies from the American Medical Association (AMA) show that rates of prescription opioid use and abuse is lower in states where medical cannabis is legal and available to patients. Wait a minute, this sounds awfully familiar. Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, this was said here, here, and here.
Well, Here’s Yet Another Study
“Medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescribing in the Medicare Part D population,” says one paper from the University of Georgia, Athens. “This finding was particularly strong in states that permit dispensaries, and for reductions in hydrocodone and morphine prescriptions.” It’s almost as though patients experiencing pain prefer pot over pills.
Another study, from the University of Kentucky and Emory University concluded that cannabis could be considered a safer non-opioid alternative to other prescription painkillers. Researchers cited that cannabis has pretty much no risk of overdose and a very low risk of addiction. The study goes on to state that legalization has been responsible for a reduction in prescriptions for opiates, among Medicaid enrollees. So, it would appear that legal cannabis is actually reducing harmful drug use, rather than exacerbating it. A couple weeks ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar made the rather spurious claim that cannabis was contributing to the opiate crisis. It seems that science has proven him wrong.
“States with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses filled; states with home cultivation only [laws]saw 1.792 million fewer filled daily doses,” researchers concluded. Well imagine that! When cannabis is readily available, people will choose it over pain pills. It gets even better in recreational states, which have a 6.38 percent lower rate of opiate prescriptions. States where only medical cannabis is legal had a 5.88 percent lower rate.
These findings blow a rather large hole in the opposition’s argument. It appears as though cannabis is not contributing to the opiate crisis. If the Trump administration is as serious about combating opiate abuse, they should stop fighting the inevitable and just legalize cannabis. Although, Trump did come out recently in favor of allowing states to legalize. This is good progress.
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How many more arguments will be debunked before we get cannabis prohibition repealed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!