Medical marijuana appears to have put a dent in the opioid abuse epidemic, according to two studies published Monday.
The research suggests that some people turn to marijuana as a way to treat their pain, and by so doing, avoid more dangerous addictive drugs.
…Many people end up abusing opioid drugs such as oxycodone and heroin after starting off with a legitimate prescription for pain. The authors argue that people who avoid that first prescription are less likely to end up as part of the opioid epidemic.
…They estimate that these dispensary programs reduced the number of opioid prescriptions by 3.7 million daily doses. States that allowed homegrown marijuana for medical use saw an estimated 1.8 million fewer pills dispensed per day. To put that in perspective, from 2010 to 2015 Medicare recipients received an average of 23 million daily doses of opioids, the researchers say.
…The authors write that laws that permit both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana for adults “have the potential to reduce opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a segment of population with disproportionately high risk for chronic pain, opioid use disorder and opioid overdose.”
No shit, Dick Tracy?