Study Shows Legalisation Of Marijuana Could Reduce Opioid Deaths

Although certain states in America are making advancements when it comes to both recreational and medical marijuana - and the positive effects the drug can have on people ailing from certain diseases such as Alzheimers, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis - there are plenty of people still opposed to legalisation. Mainly out-of-touch politicians, but that's not for us to comment, right?

But one of the most telling statistics for its benefits - and the positive impact of legalisation - is in the figures related to opioid use. For while opioids are legal, they're also much more harmful than cannabis.


One study found that states with legalised medical marijuana had a 25 per cent lower rate of opioid overdoses than states without it.

And in another, researchers from three universities - the University of North Texas Health Science Center, the University of Florida and Emory University - charted the number of opioid-related deaths in Colorado from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015.

While investigating at deaths involving both pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical drugs, they discovered an upward trend until 2014, when deaths started to decrease.

What happened in 2014 that could have changed that? Well, in January of that year, people in Colorado were allowed to legally buy marijuana for recreational use, after which, the study discovered, opioid-related deaths declined by 6.5 per cent.

Credit: PA

It's not quite as clear cut as that, however, because in 2014, Colorado also stepped up its monitoring of prescription drugs. The study did apparently try to take that into account, but further research is necessary to truly find out what really is behind the decrease in deaths.

A week or so ago, however, Norway decriminalised drugs in an effort to treat addicts rather than treat them like criminals - something in line with both the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, who are arguing that penalties for all crimes relating to illegal drugs possession should be dropped.

That probably doesn't include these two pensioners, however, who were recently caught with £250,000 worth of high-grade cannabis which they said was intended as Christmas presents.

Still, the study is definitely a step in the right direction, something that will probably become more apparent as more studies are conducted. In 2016, 653,249 people were arrested in the USA for possession of marijuana, which is a bit ridiculous, if you ask us. Which you didn't. But still. Anything that could potentially reduce the opioid crisis in the USA can only be a good thing.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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