Research Shows That Areas With More Marijuana Dispensaries Encounter Fewer Opioid-Related Deaths
Could increased access to legal marijuana use result in fewer opioid-related deaths? A recent study that was published by the BMJ inspected the correlation between the two subjects.
From 2014 to 2018, researchers examined 812 counties across the U.S. in 23 states where marijuana dispensaries were able to legally operate. In all counties, the average number of dispensaries increased from slightly less than one per county in 2014 to more than four dispensaries by 2018.
In counties where there was an increase from one to two dispensaries, researchers claimed there was a 17% decrease in opioid-related deaths. Deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, also saw a 14% decline when medical cannabis dispensaries increased from one to two. Synthetic opioid deaths also dropped by 21% when there was a similar increase in recreational dispensaries.
While these findings are an encouraging start to a pressing issue, more research is still needed to determine the true cause and effect between the two subjects.
Using Cannabis As An Alternative To Prescription Medication
Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions experienced by adults in the U.S. and can often be difficult to treat. In recent years, many doctors have ended up prescribing opioid-based pain medications to patients to help provide relief for their symptoms. However, these medications are highly addictive and have fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic.
Medical cannabis is a promising, safer alternative to using prescription medications as it lacks the addictive and toxic side effects which are found in many traditional medications. Marijuana can be effective in alleviating chronic pain associated with the following conditions:
Neck and back pain
Accident and injury-related pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)