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Study: If Legal Nationwide, Medical Marijuana Would Prevent 23,500 to 47,500 Premature Deaths Each Year

According to new research, cannabis use is associated with decreased rates of mortality from obesity, diabetes mellitus, taumatic brain injury, use of alcohol and prescription drugs, driving fatalities, and opioid overdose deaths.

According to the study, published by Indiana University South Bend, there would be “an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide”, and cannabis prohibition “is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.”

According to the study’s abstract; “Adverse effects of moderate Cannabis use on physical health are subtle and rarely fatal, while Cannabis use is associated with decreased rates of obesity, diabetes mellitus, mortality from traumatic brain injury, use of alcohol and prescription drugs, driving fatalities, and opioid overdose deaths.” These data “suggest that Cannabis use may decrease premature deaths.”

To date, “no studies have attempted to estimate impacts of Cannabis use on premature death that include both adverse and beneficial effects on physical health. Marijuana use is estimated to reduce premature deaths from diabetes mellitus, cancer, and traumatic brain injury by 989 to 2,511 deaths for each 1% of the population using Cannabis.” The analysis predicts “an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide. A number of other potential causes of reduced mortality due to Cannabis use were revealed, but were excluded from the analysis because quantitative data were lacking.”

These estimates “thus substantially underestimate the actual impact of Cannabis use on premature death. Overall, prohibition is estimated to lead to similar numbers of premature deaths as drunk driving, homicide, or fatal opioid overdose.”

The study concludes by stating that; “Cannabis use prevents thousands of premature deaths each year, and Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.”

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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