States With Medical Marijuana Laws Have Fewer Opioid Overdose Deaths

TIME

States with medical marijuana laws have fewer deaths from opioid overdoses compared to states that do not allow medical marijuana, according to new research.

Opioids for chronic pain, like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, are meant to suppress pain. Recent data shows that not only are prescriptions for these drugs up, but rates of overdose and death are increasing as well. New research published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine shows that states with medical marijuana laws have rates of anticipated opioid-related deaths 25% lower than states that don’t allow it.

The researchers looked at death rates from opioids between 1999 and 2010 and found that the 13 states that allowed medical marijuana at the time had lower opioid mortality rates–the hypothesis being that patients with chronic pain perhaps switched from the heavy drugs to marijuana, since cannabinoids in marijuana react similarly in the brain. About 60% of all…

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