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Senate Elizabeth Warren Asks CDC to Consider Cannabis for Dealing with Painkiller Epidemic

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking them to consider and study the positive role cannabis could have in dealing with the nation’s painkiller epidemic.

In the letter addressed to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, Warren asks for more oversight of physicians that are so readily prescribing large amounts of opioid painkillers, and to get serious about allowing those with chronic pain to explorie alternative treatment options, such as cannabis.

Warren also asks the CDC to study the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal,” in addition to exploring “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.”

“I hope that the CDC continues to explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options,” says Warren. “Your agency has produced an enormous amount of scientific and epidemiological data that has helped inform stakeholders on the breadth of this crisis — however there is still much we do not know.”

According to a study released last year – conducted by researchers at the RAND Corporation and the University of California – states that have legalized medical cannabis have seen a large reduction in overdose deaths caused by prescription painkillers; dropping by as much as 50% in some states.

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