States With Legalized Medical Marijuana Led to Fewer Deaths Caused by Opioids

Medical Marijuana next to a stethoscope

According to new research, states with legalized medical marijuana laws tend to have fewer deaths that are caused by opioid overdoses. This is compared to states that do not allow it.

Vicodin, Percocet, and OcyContin are opioids used for chronic pain. These drugs are meant to suppress pain in a tremendous way, but with repercussions. Latest data have shown that prescriptions have gone up for them, and so is the rates of overdose. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, states with legalized medical marijuana lead to 25% lower opioid-related deaths.

Researchers looked at data related to opioid overdoses between the years 1999 and 2010 and found that 13 states that legalized marijuana generally had lower deaths caused by opioid. They concluded that patients probably switched to medical marijuana because cannabinoids have the same reaction in the brain. Among those who fall in opioid-related deaths, 60% of them had legitimate prescriptions. While it’s meant to suppress pain, abuse is deemed problematic.

The results are interesting, and there are many reasons as to why this is possible. States who have legalized marijuana could have added rules in regards to using of opioid prescriptions. With this offer in education, patients are learning more about their addictive consequences. If there really is an association between the two, many will probably shift to legalizing medical marijuana once and for all. With positive effects, opioid overdoses will surely be minimized.

With more research underway, it’s best to understand why people would rather choose medical marijuana instead of considering the alternative. Still, the transition to medical marijuana can have many medical professionals divided as it can have risks and benefits tied to them.