- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2017


A new study has found that fewer individuals died from opioid overdoses in one state where marijuana has been legalized.

Interesting. And worthy of more, much more study.

This preliminary finding is hardly a reason to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But it does seem to suggest a deeper look at the medical uses of marijuana might be warranted. After all, it’s been long known that marijuana is effective at easing pain, particularly for those suffering from chronic ailments, like cancer.

Opioids, meanwhile, are on their way out. The tea leaves point that way. The White House has called for crackdowns; pharmacies are beginning to listen; insurance companies are starting to pull back from payments.

Yet chronic pain sufferers are still — well, suffering.

So if marijuana is a feasible alternative, it should be explored.

The study looked at Colorado.

Researchers found that the start of legal marijuana sales in the state actually coincided with a drop in prescription opioid deaths due to overdose.

In fact, when the numbers were looked at, when the statistics were analyzed, it appeared that nearly one fewer person died per month from opioid-related overdose since 2014, when the state’s marijuana sales law went into effect.

That’s pretty significant.

Researchers haven’t drawn a direct parallel between legalized marijuana and the opioid death drop — yet. But they are saying the two factors are “associated” and ought to be studied more.

“These initial results clearly show that continuing research is warranted as data become available, involving longer follow-ups and additional states that have legalized recreational cannabis,” the authors of the study wrote, the Denver Post reported.

Of course, the study has its doubters. It’s far from conclusive; it’s hardly cause to embrace marijuana as a miracle drug and speed through its legalization into states around the nation.

But as opioids move black market, and pain sufferers are left hanging, it’s only common sense, not to mention compassionate, to look for new medical treatments to fill the pill void. If it’s marijuana that’s the answer, then so be it.

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