The Journal of Health Economics published a study last month titled, “Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers?”
The study found that medical marijuana laws reduce the number of daily doses filled for opioids among Medicare Part-D and Medicaid enrollees.
It also found that states with medical marijuana programs have fewer overdose deaths from opioids than states who don’t have medical marijuana programs.
“The beauty of marijuana is that it works and, number two, people don’t overdose or kill themselves with it,” said Dr. David Crocker of Michigan Holistic Health.
Crocker said it’s very common for people to start by using prescription opiates for pain and then upgrade to the deadly drug heroin, which causes them to overdose. He said he believes marijuana can help treat chronic pain along with other positive effects.
“It helps the pain directly, but a lot of our patients will come back a couple of months later and say, ‘Well, yeah, my pain’s better, and I’m sleeping better, and I’m getting along with my spouse better, and I just generally feel better and I’m much happier,'” said Crocker.
Overall, he said he believes legalizing marijuana will lead to more lives saved.