States turn to marijuana to overturn growing epidemic of opioid dependency

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Opioid abuse is a global issue that can be overcome through marijuana

There is an opioid epidemic occurring around the world. In the U.S. alone, opioid overdoses cut short the lives of more than 60,000 individuals last year, up from 42,000 in 2015. This trend has continued, but reports show that opioid use is down in those states where marijuana has been legalized. This is now leading to more states getting behind medical marijuana in an effort to completely eradicate the opioid epidemic.

New York and Illinois are two examples of states that have modified their laws to allow opioids to be replaced by medicinal cannabis. Pennsylvania is another, having introduced medical marijuana this past February. In a small twist of irony, New York now lists opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition to have medical marijuana prescribed.

The trend to allow medical marijuana as a substitute to opioids continues. Karmen Hanson, a health policy analysts with the National Conference of State Legislatures, asserts, “It’s of growing interest to policymakers that are hoping to potentially reduce the opioid epidemic, but the science is just now starting to look at this specific issue.”

Medical marijuana has helped some individuals reduce their pain by 60%-100%, according to some studies. A recent survey indicated that over 1,600 patients involved in a study of 2,736 individuals over the age of 65 were using marijuana for cancer or nonspecific pain in the U.S. Of these, a significant number indicated that they had stopped using opioids, which shows that marijuana is a preferred alternative.