Study Confirms That Medical Marijuana Legalization Has Not Reduced Opioid Deaths


Medical marijuana has a number of uses. It can help reduce chronic pain as well as anxiety. People use it for recreational purposes as well. A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that CBD use can also break heroin addiction.

But does this mean that it can reduce the rate of fatal opioid overdoses? A new study says it cannot. Medical marijuana legalization cannot take down the number of opioid deaths.

What Did This Study Reveal?

A new study says that regardless of what some physicians and other pro-pot people have said in the past, legalizing medical marijuana has not decreased the number of fatal opioid overdoses. A previous 2014 study had said that legalizing medical cannabis reduced opioid deaths but researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine say that there’s no link between the legalization of medical marijuana and opioid deaths.

The scientists who’s study is going to published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences say, “If you think opening a bunch of dispensaries is going to reduce opioid deaths, you’ll be disappointed. We don’t think cannabis is killing people, but we don’t think it’s saving people.”

For the purpose of this research, investigators used the same method that the above-mentioned 2014 study had. They analyzed the deaths that had happened due to opioid overdosage up to 2017 by when most states had legalized medical marijuana and found that rather than having lesser number of opioid deaths in states where medical cannabis was legal the opposite was true. There were more fatal opioid overdoses in states that had legalized medical marijuana.

The 2014 study had made officials think that legalizing marijuana would make people use it rather than opioids for pain relief as well as recreational purposes. However, this has been proved to be incorrect. Moreover, with such a little portion of the population using medical marijuana it is unlikely of medical marijuana to impact the mortality statistics.

The 2014 study may have erred in concluding that medical marijuana legalization can reduce opioid deaths as at that time only liberal and wealthier states had it legalized. These states had greater access to treatments for reversing the effects of opioids. Therefore, the researchers involved in this latest study think that the lowered deaths found in the 2014 study’s results weren’t due to cannabis but something else entirely.

Key Takeaway

A new study contradicts a previous study published in 2014 that said that marijuana legalization reduced opioid deaths. This study says that marijuana cannot reduce opioid deaths.

The older study that said that medical marijuana can, was conducted at a time when only liberal and wealthy states had marijuana legal which means it was something else that was responsible for the reduced number of opioid deaths.

However, medical cannabis may be helpful in breaking heroin addiction as per another recent study.


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