We already knew that access to legalized cannabis has directly provided enormous health benefits to millions of people. This is from cannabis being prescribed as a medicinal treatment for thousands of different medical conditions.
Indirectly, legalizing cannabis saves lives. That’s the unequivocal finding of a pair of major U.S. studies that tracked death rates from opiates and all prescription/synthetic opioids from 1999 through 2017. The findings are courtesy of a recent article from Marijuana Moment.
Providing legal access to even medicinal (only) cannabis causes a reduction in deaths from opioid overdoses. But when states also legalize adult use marijuana, death rates from opioid overdoses fall from 20 – 35 percent.
The Seed Investor has been closely following this important issue. We criticized pseudo-science produced by Big Pharma and the mainstream media that claimed that (somehow) legalizing cannabis caused opioid deaths to increase.
For cannabis investors, this should do more than merely make you feel good about your cannabis investments. There are significant revenue dollars available here.
Opioid use currently generates $29.4 billion per year in revenues in the U.S. With legal cannabis being an effective substitute for opiates, cannabis can claim a significant portion of those revenue dollars. An estimated 1.7 million Americans are currently addicted to opioids.
Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds. [emphasis mine]
The data also clearly shows that states with legalized adult use cannabis (i.e. unrestricted access for adults) had by far the largest reductions in opioid deaths.
Millions of Americans are already reducing their usage of toxic/addictive alcohol in favor of non-toxic/non-addictive cannabis. Deaths from alcohol use continue to rise, as this Forbes article indicates.
Cannabis will save many additional lives here. No one has ever died from using cannabis.
As the truth about cannabis continues to spread, this will place enormous additional pressure on the U.S. federal government to legalize cannabis nationally. The federal government cannot allow individual states to continue to deny their residents the (many) benefits of legalized cannabis. It cannot allow the thousands of preventable deaths that legalized cannabis can save.
On a related note, a House Democrat from Oregon is saying that there is still an opportunity to pass a federal cannabis legalization bill in 2019.