New Studies Show Legal Access to Marijuana is Consistently Linked With Reduced Opioid Use

Two recently published studies have reaffirmed the relationship between legal access to marijuana and a reduction in opioid use.

In the first study, published by the Minnesota Department of Health, researchers assessed the prescription drug use patterns of 2,245 intractable pain patients participating in the state’s medical marijuana program. Among the patients known to be taking opiates upon enrollment in the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

“The consensus of the available data indicates that cannabis may play a potentially valuable role in mitigating the opioid public health crisis”, says Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML.  “It is time to set aside canna-bigotry and to stop placing politics ahead of American lives.”

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Study: Cannabis Improves Cognitive Performance, Reduces Prescription Drug Use

By Paul Armentano, NORML

Medical cannabis administration is associated with improved cognitive performance and lower levels of prescription drug use, according to longitudinal data published online in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Prescription Drug UseInvestigators from Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and McLean Hospital evaluated cannabis on patients’ cognitive performance over a three-month period. Participants in the study were either naïve to cannabis or had abstained from the substance for at least ten years. Baseline evaluations of patients’ cognitive performance were taken prior to their cannabis use and then again following treatment.

Researchers reported “no significant decrements in performance” following medical marijuana treatment. Rather, they determined, “[P]atients experienced some improvement on measures of executive functioning, including the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test, mostly reflected as increased speed in completing tasks without a loss of accuracy.”

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Study: Legal Access to Medical Cannabis Associated With Reduced Opioid Addiction and Deaths

cannatubeStates that have legalized medical cannabis dispensaries have a lower rate of opioid addictions and overdose deaths, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

For the study, researchers at the RAND Corporation and the University of California assessed the impact of medical cannabis laws on opioid abuse. They did this by measuring treatment admissions for opioid pain reliever addiction, and by assessing state-level opioid overdose deaths (between the years of 1999 and 2013).

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