One way to fight the opioid epidemic? Medical marijuana.

 In Medical Marijuana, National News

The opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic has led to a record number of deadly drug overdoses, with the US recording an all-time high of 47,000 overdose deaths — two-thirds of which were opioid-related — in 2014. In states like New Hampshire, the crisis is so bad that it’s overtaken the economy and national security as voters’ top concern.

But as awareness of the crisis grows, one of the more exotic policy ideas for dealing with the epidemic has gotten relatively little attention: legalizing medical marijuana.

The idea: Medical marijuana is an effective painkiller, so it can substitute some opioid painkillers that have led to the current overdose epidemic. And since marijuana doesn’t cause deadly overdoses and is less addictive than opioids, replacing some use of opioids with pot could prevent some overdose deaths.

But this isn’t just a theory. A growing body of research has supported the idea. It’s not definitive research by any means. But with so many Americans dying from opioid overdoses each year, it certainly merits consideration by lawmakers who want to keep medical marijuana illegal at the federal and state levels.


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