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Opioid Addiction Mitigated in States with Legal Marijuana

Two recently published studies suggest that states with legal marijuana have less prevalent use of opioids, and less of chance to be addicted to opioids in the future. One study, which primarily used the data of Medicare patients over the age of 65, founds 14% reduction in opioid prescription in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

It is worthwhile to note however that although there was a reduction in opioid use in states with medical marijuana, opioid use still increased during the time the study was conduct. This means that opioid use still increased during the time of the study, but medical marijuana may have slowed that increase.

The other study, published by the University of Kentucky College of Public Health reached a similar conclusion, in that both recreation and medical marijuana "have the potential to reduce opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a segment of population with disproportionately high risk for chronic pain, opioid use disorder and opioid overdose...."

Marijuana is still not without its risks, however. Another study published by Columbia University found that users of marijuana were 6 times more likely to abuse opioids than non-users. That said, marijuana use can still be a method to treat chronic pain.

While this news can be comforting to those dealing with opioid addition, Texas is behind the curve on marijuana legalization. The Texas Compassionate Use Act was passed during the 2015 Texas legislative session, and allows businesses to apply for, and be licensed by the state to sell cannabis oil for prescriptions.

Currently, there are only three medicinal dispensaries within the state, and only 18 doctors statewide may prescribe cannabis oil- no other marijuana-based drug. Not only that, the program also requires patients to try two FDA-approved drugs and have them be ineffective before getting a cannabis oil prescription, and be approved by not one, but two of the 18 doctors licensed in the state.

If you, or a family member suffers from an opioid addiction, please give us a call, and we will get you and your family the help they need.

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