A 2014 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that every state that had legalized medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010 also had significantly fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses.
In all it was found that there was a 25% reduction in deaths related to the overdose of legally prescribed opioids.
The study’s co-author Colleen Barry, a health policy researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said the the difference was ‘quite striking’. She also noted that the trend became visible in every state a year after the pot was legalized.
Yahoo news reports:
In all, the study found that states that had legalized medical pot experienced around 1,700 fewer painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than what would have happened if those states didn’t make medical marijuana legal and available.
“We found there was about a 25% lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law,” lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber explained to CNN.
Bachhuber, who also works as a PCP at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said that his experience with treating chronic pain has shown that doctors need to have as many options at their disposal as possible, although he also allowed that “it’s important, of course, to weigh the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.”