Painkiller related deaths are down 25% with legalized medical marijuana

Painkiller related deaths are down 25% with legalized medical marijuana

Medical marijuana is increasing in popularity as a treatment for many conditions, including eating disorders, cancers, and pain. It is becoming legal in more and more states. Painkiller related deaths are down 25% with legalized medical marijuana, that is in the states where it is legal, according to recent research.

What’s even more encouraging is that states that have passed medical marijuana laws have seen overdose rates plummet in the following years.

The researchers believe that those suffering from serious pain tend to rely more on marijuana, and less on narcotic pain medications.

We think that people with chronic pain may be choosing to treat their pain with marijuana rather than with prescription painkillers, in states where this is legal,” said lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, a researcher with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

However, some health experts cautioned against jumping the gun on the study results:

I don’t know what to make of the paper. I’d be very, very careful saying that medical marijuana laws decrease risk of opiate [narcotic] overdose,” said Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, a hospitalist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It’s a very loose association.”

The researchers took data from the CDC to determine overdose statistics in each state from 1999-2010, and compared those stats to whether each state had legalized medical marijuana.

Deaths from painkiller overdose have dramatically increased in the past 20 years, raising 118 percent between 1999-2011, the CDC reports.

An estimated 113 people die from drug overdose every year in the United States, and about 6,700 people end up in the hospital from overdose as well.

The study showing that painkiller related deaths are down 25% with legalized medical marijuana was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Medical marijuana has side effects, so talk to your doctor or health practitioner before using medical marijuana.

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1. “Fewer Painkiller Deaths in States With Medical Marijuana: Study.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
2. “Marijuana – Marijuana Use and Effects of Marijuana.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
3. “Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Mortality.” JAMA Internal Medicine. JAMA Network, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

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