Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted proof that marijuana can cure opiate abuse. One thing the AG has forgotten is that scientific proof has been right under his nose for quite some time. Prior studies show that in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal, fewer prescriptions for opioids are written and there are reduced cases of opioid addiction.
AG Sessions has adamantly rejected facts about marijuana’s ability to reduce opioid abuse, according to The Washington Post. Opioids took the lives of 33,000 people in 2015 alone. Opioid deaths were calculated at about 8,000 in 1999.
Sessions said, “I see a line in The Washington Post today that I remember from the ‘80s. ‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just – almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.”
In 2014, a study was conducted that showed opiate deaths were reduced in states where medical marijuana is legal – a 25-percent decrease. That is rather significant. It suggests that more people are using medical marijuana and leaving opiates behind.
In 2015, the National Bureau of Economic Research published evidence that a 15- to 35-percent decrease in drug treatment facility center admissions where medical marijuana is available. The same paper showed similar decreases in opiate overdose deaths.
A year later, in 2016, Columbia University concluded that in states with medical marijuana laws, fewer opioid-related traffic deaths occurred.
The general consensus from authors of these papers and studies is: where medical marijuana is legal, fewer people are using opioids.
Medical marijuana continues to save Medicare Part D money. In states where medical marijuana is legal, there were 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers prescribed. Use among older generations, including senior citizens, is rapidly growing.
Another study published in 2016 showed that chronic pain patients using medical marijuana say their quality of life is better and they are less likely to use opiates.
While more research may be needed, these studies, and the dozens of others conducted, have been readily available for AG Sessions to review; yet he continues to ignore them.