A new study suggests legalized medical marijuana could be the answer to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States, according to a Sept. 17, 2016, article at The Huffington Post.
The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, examined traffic fatalities in 18 states 1999-2013. They noticed states with legalized medical marijuana saw a drop in accidents in which the driver had been taking an opioid.
States with legalized medical marijuana were “associated with reductions in opioid positivity among 21- to 40-year-old fatally injured drivers and may reduce opioid use and overdose,” the study’s authors wrote.
“We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” June H. Kim, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Mailman, said in a statement.
The findings were published Sept. 15, 2016, in the American Journal of Public Health.