What You Need to Know About the New Recreational Weed Laws
20% of Americans now have access to legal pot.
Your doctor may soon be sending you to a dispensary.
The more you read these days, the more you see how marijuana is almost always the answer for what may be troubling you. Which is why so many people are jumping aboard the Maryjane train. Whether you're suffering from depression or anxiety, a crappy sex life, alcohol addiction or chronic pain, weed has been scientifically proven to help. Even the NFL is looking into the use of medicinal marijuana as pain management thanks to current players pushing to treat their aches and pains with something more natural and less addictive, not to mention organ-destroying, as the opioids typically prescribed.
Which leads us to the latest news: two large studies published earlier this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzing more than five years of prescription data, found that after states legalized pot, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down.
Researchers analyzed the records of opiate prescriptions reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, and discovered that the prescription trends changed after a state made changes to its marijuana laws.
"Medical and adult-use marijuana laws have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose, and marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic," said the authors in one of the studies.
Previous research has also pointed to a similar correlation. A paper from 2014 found that states with medical marijuana laws had nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses. But the new research is the first to connect marijuana legalization to prescription painkillers with such large data sets.
Of course, while cannabis can do a lot of good, it probably isn't the magic bullet that will end the growing opioid epidemic plaguing the US. But perhaps scientific findings like this will help persuade lawmakers to realize the myriad of potential health benefits. Because while government leaders such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions have promised to crack down on marijuana cases, the country is more willing than ever to come around to the idea of legal marijuana. A recent Pew survey found that 61 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing pot. After all, once you know the facts, who would be against it?