Making medical marijuana legal does not lower fatal opioid overdose death rates, says a new study, thus challenging a key talking point of several advocates of legal marijuana.
A 2014 study reported that from the year 1999 t0 2010, the states having medical marijuana laws had almost 25 percent lower opioid death rates in contrast to those states which did not have such laws. The researchers of that study speculated that the patients may be switching to marijuana over painkillers, although they had warned them against its consequences. But still, the states struck by opioid overdose death rates started rethinking about the role marijuana played, thus leading many to legalize cannabis for medical purpose.
And so, a team of researchers led by Chelsea Shover, a postdoctoral research scholar in psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, took a decision to upgrade the analysis by utilizing data of 2017. Upon examining, they discovered the opposite: death rates due to opioid prescription were 23 percent higher than what was expected in the states which had legalized medical marijuana.
Shover said that legalizing medical marijuana isn’t the solution to curb he opioid epidemic. Though it would be amazing if this fact was true, but their finding does not suggest that it is, she further said.
Though medical marijuana acts as a pain reliever for a few people, but for the opioid overdose crisis and addiction, there’s a need for more research as well as policies which may bring a change, Shover added.