While the full medical and societal potential of cannabis has yet to be uncovered, more and more studies are showcasing promising results.
One of this year’s hottest topics of study has been the impact of adult-use cannabis legalization on opioid-related deaths.
The latest piece to the puzzle comes from a study conducted by Researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Colorado State University that was published earlier this month.
The study documents how the changing legal status of marijuana has impacted mortality in the United States over the past two decades.
And here’s some great news! According to authors Nathan Chan, Jesse Burkhardt and Matthew Flyr,”We find that access to recreational marijuana reduces opioid mortality in the range of 20%–35%”.
While the study did not identify a specific mechanism that explains the new results, the researchers speculated that the numbers are being achieved by the substitution of one drug for another.
All of this is not completely surprising, as a 2014 study had already drawn a correlation between the availability of medical marijuana and a decrease in opioid deaths.
Surprise: the study had also linked these results to cannabis’ availability as a replacement treatment.
In a context where opioids were responsible for 67.8% of all drug overdose deaths in 2017, this finding suggests that legalizing adult-use cannabis could be an important part of the solution to finally solve the opioid crisis.
As always, let’s be cautious: more research is needed to reach definitive conclusions, but these findings are very encouraging!