During today’s National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed doubts that marijuana can help reduce opioid abuse, something science has continually found to be true.
“I see a line in the Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s. This one was, if you smoke marijuana, it’s a cure for opiate abuse. Give me a break”, said Sessions. “This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true.”
Sessions may doubt it to be true, but numerous studies just over the past few years have found that marijuana – and a liberalization of the laws surrounding it – can have a drastic impact on opioid abuse and the growing opioid epidemic.
For example, a study just published by the International Journal of Drug Policy found that a majority of medical cannabis patients use cannabis in replace of prescription drugs, mainly opioids.
A study published last year in the Journal of Pain found that those using medical cannabis to control chronic pain reported a 64% reduction in their use of opioids.
A separate study, also published last year in the Journal of Clinical Pain and by the National Institute of Health, found that the daily, long-term use of cannabis is associated with reduced opioid use in patients with treatment-resistant chronic pain conditions.
A study published in 2015 by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that states that have legalized medical cannabis dispensaries have a significantly lower rate of opioid addictions and overdose deaths.
A similar study published in 2014 by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found states that have legalized medical cannabis have seen as much as a 50% decrease in opioid overdose deaths (with an overall average reduction of around 25%).
These are just a few of the multitude of studies that have been released recently on the benefits of marijuana on opioid abuse.
Clearly Sessions needs to do his research, and leave the drug war rhetoric behind.