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Decline in drug and alcohol use in US states that have legalized

Cannabis Addiction
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 Whether the addiction is related to opioids or alcohol consumption, research indicates that cannabis can reduce its use and abuse.

New studies have been published on the link between cannabis and opioids. They examine the difference in the number of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers given to the elderly in states that have legalized cannabis.

In addition, another influence of legalization on alcohol consumption. There has also been a decrease in cases of “binge drinking” (excessive alcohol consumption) in these same states.

In both cases, there is a decrease in alcohol and drug consumption.

opioid, cannabis legalization, pain reliever, binge drinking, alcohol consumption

Cannabis against the opioid crisis

Opioids like morphine or heroin come from natural (opium poppy resin) or synthetic (or semi-synthetic) sources.

The medical use of opioids is due to their ability to ease the pain, but they are highly addictive substances which can also impart a feeling of euphoria which often leads to abuse and development of addiction in patients.

Following the expansion of the phenomenon in recent years in the United States, there has developed “opioid crisis” or “opioid epidemic”. There are how many frightening statistics that illustrate the size of the problem, such as:

In 2016, there were 42 opioid overdoses in the United States, meaning that an average of 249 people died of an opioid overdose every day.

But this phenomenon is not only typical of the United States but also of the rest of the world.

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The studies

Medicinal cannabis is used to relieve pain. This has been shown in the past several times. In addition, studies have shown that the vast majority of patients receiving medical cannabis prefer this treatment to pain relievers and that the use of cannabis alongside prescription medications reduces the amount of opioids consumed.

New studies, published in the JAMA review (Journal of American Medical Association) did not directly examine how the legalization or use of medical cannabis would affect opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Instead, access to medical cannabis results in a reduction in the amount of opioids given to patients. Thus, the quantity of prescriptions (and the ease with which they are administered) is an important factor.

The Medicaid program (federal insurance for the most disadvantaged): - 6% of opioid prescriptions in legalizing states.

The results showed that in the legalizing states have a quantity of opiate Medicaid prescriptions reduced by 6%. Additionally, it was found that when states moved from legalizing medical cannabis to full legalization, there was a further decrease in the number of prescriptions, on average 6% more.

Medicare program: 14% drop in opioid prescriptions

The second study looked at the number of opioid prescriptions given to Medicare patients between the years 2010-2015. Researchers compared states with access to medical cannabis and those without. For example, 14 states (and Washington, DC) have legalized medical cannabis since the start of the period. Nine other countries subsequently joined during the period studied.

For example, Medicare patients in states with access to medical cannabis received an average of 14% fewer daily doses of opioids compared to prohibitionist states.

Both studies have shown that access to medical cannabis can significantly reduce the quantity of prescriptions given for opioids.

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The problem of alcohol consumption

Binge drinking (excessive and voluntary alcohol consumption in the evening) continues to break records in the United States. However, a new report from Cowen & Co shows that the habit is on the decline in states that have legalized cannabis compared to others.

What does it mean to drink excessively? The American definition is the consumption of 5 alcoholic drinks or more in about two hours (4 for women).

About a month ago, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data that more and more Americans are engaging in binge drinking.

The report revealed that Americans drank 17 alone in 2015. Over the same period, an American adult drank excessively at least once a week.

A drop in alcohol consumption linked to the legalization of cannabis

Analysis by Markets Cowen & Co shows that in countries where cannabis has become legal, alcohol consumption has declined.

"In states where cannabis is legal for adults [in one way or another], the number of binge drinking cases per month was 9 below the national average," the report said, in Forbes.

Plus, in states like Washington and Colorado, the data is even more glaring. These states having legalized recreational consumption, show even lower figures in alcohol abuse.

Thus, these data are identical to those found in another study published earlier this year.

The analysis does not believe that cannabis will completely eliminate the use of alcohol. However, one definitely comes at the expense of the other. "Cannabis and alcohol are substitutes for each other," according to this report.

By 2026, the US cannabis market would be worth $ 50 billion. It is now estimated to reach $ 75 billion over the next decade. We are getting closer to the market value of the alcoholic beverage market.

Tags : AlcoholaddictionLawopioids
Weed-master

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Weed media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet as well as the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.