It is often claimed that cannabis is a gateway drug, and those who smoke pot will sooner or later become heroin/cocaine/whatever addicts. I am sure we all heard this story before, and I am positive we are tired of it. But what if medical cannabis was actually a solution for a the opioid problem?
A recent study conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania (Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS; and Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MP), titled Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010, indicates that “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.”
More specifically, the study was set up to “determine the association between the presence of state medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality”.
The results indicated that: “Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had medical cannabis laws effective prior to 1999. Ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws. Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time.”
In other words, medical marijuana seems to be one of the best solution to prevent opioid overdose.
This could be huge. In fact, as Miriam Boeri underlines in a recent article published on Alternet , in the last few years there has been a significant increase in drug overdoses: “maybe it’s time to consider pot as a substitute for smack,” and maybe it’s time to recognize that cannabis can be a solution, and it’s certainly not a problem.