In a new study ,which should serve as a wake-up call for legislators across the U.S., cannabis legalization in Colorado led to a "reversal" of opioid overdose deaths in the country.
"Following Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis sale and usage, opioid-related deaths decreased greater than 6 % from the subsequent two decades," write authors Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey E. Barnett, Chris Delcher and Alexander C. Wagenaar.
While these results are preliminary, this is only one of the very first reports to have a look at the impact recreational legalization (rather than medical) has had on America's opioid epidemic.
Marijuana's potential as a safe and efficient alternative to strong painkillers -- or even as a departure medication for opioid addicts -- has been gaining an increasing number of attention in recent months.
The authors of the study looked in the speed of yearly opiate overdose deaths in Colorado before and following the initiation of the nation's recreational cannabis market in 2014. After controlling for the two medical marijuana and also a reversal in Colorado's prescription drug monitoring system, the investigators discovered that opioid deaths dropped by 6.5 percent at both years following the state implemented its psychiatric cannabis legislation.
The writers say legislators will be sensible to remain abreast of those amounts in coming years to find out if the pattern that they identified proceeds. They are also likely to check whether their findings remain true in other nations with recreational legalization, such as Washington and Oregon.