In those states where medical cannabis is legal, the use of prescribed opiates has drastically decreased
According to a research by the University of Georgia, the states that legalized medical marijuana have seen an important decrease in prescribed opiate use. The American Medical Association, Internal Medicine, published the result of the study that checked the number of opiate prescriptions between 2010 and 2015.
In those states where cannabis dispensaries are available, the researchers concluded that the reduction of opiate prescriptions was almost a 15 per cent in those states that have dispensaries and a 7 percent reduction in those states where cannabis home cultivation is legal although there are not open dispensaries at hand.
After California allowed medical cannabis, 29 states have followed the same path in terms of medical marijuana. The study has observed what happened after medical cannabis became legal and the conclusion is that it has been seen a very big reduction in opiate use.
The researchers studied the common prescribed opiates that include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone and fentanyl. The prescription of opiates is becoming a big problem for public health. More than 42,000 deaths occurred in 2016 due to overdoses and more than 40 percent of these overdose deaths were related to opiate prescriptions.
The number of opioid prescriptions increased from 148 million in 2005 to 206 million in 2011. These numbers coincide with the increase of deaths related to opiate prescriptions.
Every year appears new medical literature that suggests marijuana could be used to treat pain which could be the most important factor that has been observed in the reduction of opiates.
The researchers think that if medical marijuana is going to become an efficient treatment, physicians have a lot of work to do. The researchers are only beginning to understand the abilities of the different cannabinoids. It is important to decide the effective dose of cannabis for each patient and for each case. Anyhow, the study concludes that cannabis can be a very powerful tool to reduce the dangers of prescribed opiates, which is something very important and worthy of a deeper research.