A trio of scientific studies has provided further proof that legalizing marijuana can reduce the opioid crisis facing America. At first glance, it may appear that legalizing marijuana will increase opioid overdoses. However, the studies conducted gathered data that proves otherwise.
- Arthritis Sufferers Who Underwent Reconstructive Surgery Used Fewer Opioids if Cannabis Was Accessible
A new study whose findings appeared in the Journal of Orthopedic Proceedings analyzed the toxicological tests of more than 520 patients. The tests in question were conducted between 2012 and 2017.
The researchers found that patients who used cannabis before undergoing reconstructive surgery to repair joints affected by arthritis increased from just 9 percent to 15 percent during the period being studied. At the same time, the prevalence of opioid use dropped to 17 percent from 24 percent.
There appears to be a correlation between the increase in access to marijuana and a reduction in the use of opioids.
- States with Legal Marijuana Have Fewer Opioid Prescriptions
Another group of researchers gathered data on more than 1.3 billion prescriptions of opioids. Those prescriptions were spread over several years from 2011 to 2018. The researchers analyzed that data in order to establish whether there was a connected between marijuana laws and the rate at which opioids are prescribed.
The investigators found that in states where marijuana was fully legal (for recreational and medical purposes) prescriptions for opioids, especially morphine, reduced by 6.9 percent every year.
The study found that in the states where only medical marijuana was legal, morphine prescriptions reduced by 6.1 percent each year.
The researchers concluded that access to cannabis caused the rate at which morphine is prescribed to reduce by a percentage which is statistically significant.
- Opioid Abuse Decreased as Cannabis Use Went Up
The federally funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2017 compared the level of opioid misuse among Americans in 2016 and 2017. The researchers found that about 11.4 million Americans abused opioids in 2017 yet the number was higher (11.8 million) the year before.
The same survey found that the number of Americans who used marijuana in 2016 was 24 million while those who used cannabis the next year increased to 26 million. This increase in cannabis use could possibly explain why opioid abuse reduced in the years under scrutiny.
As you can see, studies conducted by private entities and those funded by states or the federal government all seem to point to the strong possibility of marijuana having the key to the opioid epidemic the country is facing. Such findings are good news to industry players like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP).
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