A new study concluded that in states where medical marijuana is legal, hospitals are treating fewer opioid addicts. An average reduction of 23-percent in opioid dependence/abuse hospitalizations were noted in those states. Overall hospitalizations for opioid overdoses declined 13-percent.
Dr. Ester Choo was intrigued by the study’s findings. She said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity. Could increased liberalization of marijuana be part of the solution? It seems plausible. There is still much we need to understand about the mechanisms through which marijuana policy may affect opioid use and harms.”
The study’s author, Yuyan Shi is a public health professor at the University of California – San Diego. Her study is the fifth to display that opioid use and deaths declined in states where medical marijuana is legal.
One New York physician, Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, says his patients often ask for help quitting opioids. He said that some of those patients have found help with medical marijuana. He said, “We have information that it works based on the National Academies’ report. But we don’t know who it works best for, at what dosage, for how long.”