More studies show marijuana’s potential for curbing the opioid crisis

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The latest studies support three that proved marijuana use can bury the dangerous opioid market

Opioid use in the U.S. has been on a scary upward trend. While the drug was initially seen as an important method of providing pain relief to millions, it soon became known that the drug carried dire side effects, including an increasing dependence and permanent addiction. Additionally, in the past two years, the number of opioid overdose deaths has risen from 42,000 to more than 60,000.

Several recent studies showed that, in states where marijuana was legalized, opioid use had dropped significantly. Those findings have now been supported by two more studies.

In examining Medicaid enrollees from 2010 to 2017, researchers found that there was a drop of 32% in the number opioid prescriptions in the legal marijuana states. Additionally, there was a decrease of 30% in the number of doses and a 31% decline in Schedule III spending on opioids.

Between 2009-2015, mortality rates from opioid overdoses have increased by .37% in those areas that don’t have dispensaries. In those that have dispensaries, the rate was only .07%. The studies also revealed that prescription opioid mortality rates “increased by 0.05 in dispensary-counties and rose by .2 in non-dispensary counties.”

Marijuana isn’t just solving the opioid crisis, either. Researchers indicated that overdoses on heroin can also be controlled. They said that heroin overdoses increased during the period by .61% in areas that have marijuana dispensaries, but increased by 1% in non-dispensary regions.