Opioid Abuse Is Plummeting In States With Legal Marijuana

States with medical marijuana programs are experiencing substantially lower rates of opioid addiction and overdoses, according to a new research study.

Critics of legal marijuana programs often fear access to the plant will have a negative impact on public health, but the study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found in states with legal weed hospital visits for complications from prescription painkillers is dropping. The hospitalization rate for opioid abuse and dependence in states with medical marijuana are roughly 23 percent lower than states without legal access, reports NBC News.

Emergency room visits for opioid overdoses are on average 13 percent lower than states without medical marijuana programs.

“Medical marijuana laws may have reduced hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers,” Yuyan Shi, public health professor at the University of California and study author, told NBC News. “This study and a few others provided some evidence regarding the potential positive benefits of legalizing marijuana to reduce opioid use and abuse, but they are still preliminary.”

Medical researchers are not claiming pot will “solve” the opioid epidemic, but the study adds to a growing body of evidence that marijuana can be an effective alternative to the painkillers that often lead to heroin abuse. Research released in February from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria suggests patients suffering from chronic pain and mental health conditions will choose marijuana over their addictive prescription drugs when doctors give them a choice.

Roughly 63 percent of patients in the study chose marijuana due to reduced side effects and because it is far less addictive than their prescription medication. Patients also said they were better able to manage their symptoms by using weed.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity,” Dr. Esther Choo, professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, told NBC News. “Could increased liberalization of marijuana be part of the solution? It seems plausible.”

A record 33,000 Americans died from opioid related overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid deaths contributed to the first drop in U.S. life expectancy since 1993 and eclipsed deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2015.



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      1. Roxy Bentsen Faulkner

        What Ailments Qualify For Medical Marijuana in Florida
        Patients in Florida diagnosed with one of the following “debilitating medical conditions”, are afforded legal protection under the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, as per Amendment 2:

        Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
        Crohn’s disease
        Chronic muscle spasms
        Multiple sclerosis
        Parkinson’s disease
        post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
        or any other ailment/condition of the same severity/symptoms, when determined by a physician’s opinion that the medical use of marijuana would surpass any potential health risks

        How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in Florida
        Patients must be at least 18 years of age

        You must be a Florida Resident with a valid Florida I.D. as proof of residency. If you do not have a Florida I.D. an out of state I.D., passport, or other photo I.D. with proof of residency such as bank statement, utility bill, etc. is acceptable.

        Patients must obtain legitimate medical records or documentation from your primary care physician describing their diagnosis and bring these records with you to your marijuana evaluation appointment — *Learn how to request your medical records

        The qualifying patient must have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. Additionally, the patient must be a patient of the ordering doctor for at least 3 months prior to the diagnosis — *Find a certified medical marijuana physician in Florida

        All patients will be required to register with the Department of Health, details will be provided once the Florida Medical Marijuana Program has been fully implemented by the DOH.

        A patient must have tried other treatments without success and the ordering doctor must determine the risks of use are resonable in respect to the benefits to the patient.

        Florida Department of Health

        Medical Marijuana Program

        * Address details coming soon

        Phone: 850-245-4444

        Website: http://www.floridahealth.gov

        Medical Marijuana Access in Florida
        Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana physicians will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.

        Possession and cultivation regulations is yet to be determined, but is expected to be addressed during the rulemaking process. Check MarijuanaDoctors.com frequently for status updates as the program begins to unfold.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Roxy Bentsen Faulkner

        Do you have an iPad or iPhone?
        If so download Weedmaps.

        * #1 Medical App in App Store *

        Founded in 2008, Weedmaps is the largest and most comprehensive marijuana directory and discovery resource on the planet. With the most up-to-date and accurate listings throughout the US, Canada and Europe – Weedmaps helps you locate doctors, deliveries, storefronts and deals near you. And now with the launch of the new Weedmaps Brands platform, you can learn about brands and products, see brand photos and videos, and search for locations selling your favorite products!

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        Find a medical marijuana doctor in your area to get evaluated and receive your medical recommendation. Browse the latest menu items for available medication, marijuana strains, edibles, tinctures, concentrates and any cannabis-related product.


  1. Hardy Har

    This makes complete sense! As a frequent mj user, I always say I would rather enjoy the natural and positive effects of marijuana than the synthetic, man-made poison drugs any day of the week! There are just so many wonderful benefits that I can’t see needing anything else!

    Liked by 1 person

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