Legal cannabis is not the hoped-for anti-opioid weapon

Officially considered to be a public health emergency since 2017, addiction to opioids, synthetic painkillers like Fentanyl or Oxycontin, is a real epidemic in the United States. Those drugs that doctors and pharmaceutical laboratories have widely distributed to the population are highly addictive and very dangerous in high doses.

Marijuana is also used to relieve chronic pain, while being both less dangerous and less addictive than opioids. Its legalization therefore carried the hope of a solution in terms of public health. However, after a few years of experimentation, hemp has not fulfilled its promises.

A study published by the journal Health Economics shows that after the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2017, the number of opioid emergencies did drop, but not sustainably. In California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, emergencies are down 7.6%, but only for six months.

«Those who already have an opioid addiction may have found that cannabis is not enough to treat all the symptoms of their condition. There may be a re-substitution after a while», Study director Coleman Drake tells NBC News.

No final results yet

Another article published in the British Medical Journal found that increasing one to two marijuana dispensaries in a county could reduce opioid overdose deaths by 17%.

It is therefore difficult for the moment to determine the real effects of the legalization of cannabis on the consumption of opioids. Especially sincea study published in 2020 found when following 211 people addicted to heroin (a non-medical opioid) that when subjects used marijuana, they were almost twice as likely to take opioids in the same day.

If the results of marijuana are therefore very mixed, one thing is for sure, it is certainly not a panacea.

Source: by

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