Death From Painkillers Down 25% in Legal Marijuana States

Marijuana is displayed through a magnifying glass inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A study has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association according to which deaths involving pain medication saw a 24.8% decrease, particularly in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The nearly 25% decrease was in comparison to states where marijuana is still illegal.

It suggests a correlation that many expected, namely, that the more people can safely and legally access the medicinal properties of marijuana, the less they will depend on pharmaceutical drugs.

Consequently, there will be less negative side effects, including death.

Dr. Marcus Bachhuber led the study, and writes:

“States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.

Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time.”

“In absolute terms, states with a medical marijuana law had about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed.”