Medical Marijuana's Impact on the Opioid Crisis

Medical marijuana came out a winner in the most recent election – more than half of the country, including Washington, D.C. have now implemented medical marijuana laws. As more states welcome legislation that opens doors for alternative medicinal options, researchers have found that an increase in medical marijuana usage may be responsible for the decrease in opioid addiction and overdoses.

Reducing Risk of Addiction

According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers followed states that enacted medical marijuana laws from 1999-2010 – they also kept track of the number of opioid-related deaths that occurred in those states. Researchers found that states with medical marijuana laws saw a 24.8 percent decrease in annual opioid death rates compared to states who have yet to legalize medical marijuana. Over the years, the nation has seen a steady increase in opioid addiction – The U.S. Surgeon General released a report stating that 1 in 7 individuals will become addicted to drugs, including legal prescription painkillers.

More Patients Seeking Alternative Care

These studies strongly suggest that individuals are using cannabis for medicinal purposes, and not solely recreational. While it’s becoming more common for patients to seek alternative medical care, researchers found that individuals diagnosed with glaucoma are still asking for traditional prescription drugs, even in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Researchers from the University of Georgia also found that in 2013, 17 medical marijuana states were able to save $165 million from decreased Medicare prescriptions.

While prescription painkillers may be a successful treatment plan for some patients, our New Jersey medical marijuana doctor understands that it may not be suitable for all patients. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or other qualifying conditions such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or seizure disorder, we invite you to contact New Jersey Alternative Medicine to request an appointment.

Call our office today at (856) 351-5277 to learn how we can help!