Uplifting New Study: Legalized Medical Marijuana Having A Direct Impact On Falling Drug Overdose Rates

Amazing New Study Proves That Legalizing Marijuana Reduces Drug Overdoses, Prescription Abuse

As the nation moves closer and closer to a universal, sane way of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes–to say nothing of legalizing it for its recreation uses and concurrent tax revenues and tourism boom–we can now comfortably look back and recall how ridiculous some of the claims were from marijuana opponents.

There were several similarly plotted doomsday scenarios that opponents would roll out whenever the conversation turned to legalization: 1.) think of the children; 2.) it leads directly to heroin; 3.) everyone will become a huge pothead/drug addict; and 4.) nobody will use it for medical purposes.

Well, as to numbers one and two, as far as I know, the children are doing just as well as they ever have, and there is no massive spike in crazed potheads-turned-junkies befouling the subways and lolling in the doorways of decent folk.

But that’s just anecdotal. There is some actual evidence that number three has failed to materialize as well–and in fact, some proof that the legalization of pot for medical use has resulted in a reduction in drug abuse, in the form of reductions in over-prescribing, over-medicating and overdoses of pharmaceuticals.

There is a great new study out of the University of Georgia, published in the journal Health Affairs that looked at the 17 states where medical marijuana laws were in place by 2013, and examined the use of prescription pills there as opposed to in states with no medical marijuana laws on the books.

What they found was striking: in the states with such laws the average doctor in a year’s time:

• Prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants
• 486 fewer doses of seizure medication
• 541 fewer anti-nausea drugs doses
• and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication

But perhaps most shocking of all was that they prescribed a whopping 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.

These conditions are of course the ones for which marijuana is most frequently prescribed. So just to cross-reference, the researchers also looked at prescriptions written for conditions that fall outside the typical portfolio of marijuana’s efficacy, thinking that perhaps prescriptions were down all around, not just for conditions that could be treated by marijuana.

But no; with blood-thinners, anti-viral drugs, and antibiotics there was no significant change in the frequency and number of prescriptions that were written.

“This provides strong evidence that the observed shifts in prescribing patterns were in fact due to the passage of the medical marijuana laws,” they wrote in their report. “The results suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes.”

And there, ladies and gentlemen, goes objection number four.

Seventeen states down, 33 to go.


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