Fewer People Hospitalized For Opioid Abuse In States Where Marijuana Is Legal

And while we know that synthetic heroin and naturally grown cannabis aren't even in the same ballpark, opponents of marijuana legalization have continually stressed the gateway theory, claiming that increased availability of weed will lead to higher rates of opioid abuse.

The study also confirmed a well-known fact that unlike Opioids, alcohol, and other stimulants, no one has ever overdosed or died from the inhalation or consumption of cannabis.

"Instead, medical marijuana laws may have reduced hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers", Shi concluded.

And despite the loosening of marijuana laws across the country, states that have legalized medical marijuana have not seen an uptick in marijuana hospitalizations.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity", Choo, who was not involved in the study, said in an email.

The question now is: in light of increasing evidence of the benefits of cannabis and as well as the harmlessness of moderate recreational use, will the anti-marijuana forces be able to put that proverbial genie back in its bottle?

Senate Bill 174 and House Bill 1488 both propose to add autism, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, lupus and arthritis to the list of debilitating conditions that qualify for medical cannabis use.

Shi analyzed hospitalization records from 1997 through 2014 for 27 states, nine of which implemented medical marijuana policies.

Under the new legislation, government agencies will be authorized to grow marijuana for research purposes and to produce cannabis oil and derivatives for patients.

Many of Bachhuber's patients ask for help quitting highly addictive opioids, and some have used marijuana to taper off the prescription painkillers, he said. The report, written by an independent panel of medical experts, found no evidence of cannabis overdose deaths. It's far better than our neighbors to the north in Washington, who are getting taxed 37 percent on their cannabis purchases.

Marijuana's potential as a replacement for opioids stands in stark contrast to comments Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a few weeks ago. Only last week, Sessions declared that is was "astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin by legalizing marijuana so people can trade on life-wrecking dependency for another".

  • Joanne Flowers