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Holistic Medicine

Study: The Opioid Crisis Might've Been Avoided With More Legal Marijuana

JoHoward contributor

Source: Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

A new study from the University of Florida, University of Southern California and Purdue University has found that the legalization of medical cannabis has led to a significant decrease in direct payments from opioid manufacturers to physicians.

Firstly, what are those sneaky opioid manufacturers paying for directly? The study outlined that opioid manufacturers often engage financially with physicians through types of direct payments covering: consulting and speaker fees, conference travel reimbursements, or even meal vouchers.

The researchers analyzed transaction data from 2014 to 2017 and found that physicians in states with medical marijuana laws prescribed fewer opioids. The substitution effect was found to be higher for female physicians and in localities with higher white, less affluent, and more working-age populations.

In short, the decrease was attributed to the availability of medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription opioids when given the legal option.

The study found that state-level medical marijuana legalization led to reduced payouts from opioid manufacturers to pain medicine physicians. This finding suggests that the opioid crisis could have potentially been avoided if the government had been more open to marijuana legalization.

Other studies have previously found that adult-use cannabis legalization is associated with reductions in opioid demand, adding that chronic pain patients often use cannabis as a substitute for other pain medications. Adding to the mountain of evidence that medical Marijuana can help a multitude of unexpected issues, even military veterans diagnosed with PTSD have either reduced or eliminated prescription opioids and other addictive painkillers once they understand and experience the benefits of cannabis.

It’s important to note that the opioid misuse crisis led to over 106,000 deaths from drug-involved overdose in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Giving people legal access to medical cannabis can help patients reduce or stop use of opioid painkillers without compromising their quality of life.

The pharmaceutical industry takes a serious economic hit after states legalize marijuana, with an average market loss of nearly $10 billion for drugmakers per each legalization event, and that’s a GOOD thing in my book!

#marijuana, #Cannabis, #opioids, #medical_study