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Medical Marijuana May Reduce Pain Medication Overdoses
- Updated: August 26, 2014
Currently, medical marijuana is legalized in 23 states. Although there has been a tremendous amount of controversy regarding the subject, a new study has revealed at least one benefit. According to the study, the number of deaths associated with pain medication overdose has declined in those states.
From data gathered, there is a 25% reduction in the number of overdoses, which is quite significant. Unfortunately, millions of people take opiods and other forms of pain medication and while in many cases, the drugs help, they also pose risk of addiction and accidental or intentional overdose.
The recent rise in the abuse of pain medication and associated deaths has become a very serious problem and as such, lawmakers are demanding that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do something about it. Although experts agree that more research is needed, researchers believe legalizing marijuana could be an effective way to reduce the abuse.
According to the associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of the study, Colleen Barry, drug abuse as it relates to painkillers and overdose has become a very serious national public health crisis. Barry goes on to say that as people become more aware of the issue of addiction and risks of overdose linked to Oxycotin and Vicodin, as well as other opioids, people who suffer from chronic pain, along with treating doctors, may consider using medical marijuana as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments. As such, perhaps medical marijuana will become legalized in even more states.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center conducted the study, which then went on to be published in the American Medication Association – Internal Medicine. The use of marijuana was investigated, along with deaths connected with pain medication from the years 1999 to 2010. In reviewing the information, researchers found a strong connection between the two.
Again, more research and studies are needed but if new information, coupled with the data taken from the Johns Hopkins study continue to prove medical marijuana does in fact reduce the number of deaths linked to painkillers, the hope is that sometime in the not-so-distance future, marijuana will become legal.