KIMT News 3 – Some states are seeing less overdoses of opiate drugs, and there could be a link to the laws surrounding medicinal marijuana.
The study comes from the Journal of the American Medical Association’s publication; Internal Medicine.
The study suggests that there is at least a 25 percent decline in opiate overdoses in states where marijuana has been decriminalized for medicinal purposes.
According to the CDC, in 2009, overdoses from prescription pain relievers resulted in as many as 15,000 deaths in the country.
Authors of the study say it’s still too early to make claims on why this is happening.
Some, however believe this could be a major step in promoting the use of the drug in other states.
“You can see actual physical addiction, which does drive people to accidental overdoses of opiates, but you don’t see that with marijuana, because in states where they do legalize it, they use that as an alternative,” said medical marijuana advocate, Quinn Symonds.
23 states and Washington D.C. have laws making certain forms of medical marijuana legal in the country.
Symonds argues that with the low risk of fatal overdoses with marijuana, there should be an emphasis on exploring more ways to develop the substance for medicinal purposes.
“When it comes to medicinal cannabis, when people are taking it, there isn’t that toxicity. There isn’t that physical dependency that your body needs, so you don’t suffer violent withdrawal effects,” said Symonds.
According to a federal study, an adult would have to consume as much as 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes, in order for it to have a lethal effect.