States with medical pot see nearly 25 percent fewer fatal prescription drug overdoses26/08/2014 22:23
A new study reveals that states where medical marijuana is legal experience around one-quarter fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses, signaling perhaps a small victory for proponents of pot’s alleged pain-alleviating powers.
According to the study published in the latest installment of JAMA Internal Medicine, the 13 states in America that have legalized the use of medical marijuana for patients with valid prescriptions see a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose rate that those where weed can’t legally be offered to treat ailments.
Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center writes in the study that “States that implemented medical marijuana laws appear to have lower annual opioid analgesic overdoses death rates (both from prescription pain killers and illicit drugs such as heroin) than states without such laws,” but acknowledged that the exact reason isn’t quite clear at this point.
“Prescriptions for opioid painkillers for chronic pain have increased in the United States and so have overdose deaths. However, less attention has been focused on how the availability of alternative nonopioid treatment, such as medical marijuana, may affect overdose rates,” his team wrote.
Now after reviewing overdose rates across the US from 1999 through 2010, Dr. Bachhuber and his colleagues determined that states with legal weed witness fewer overdoses.