A study has suggested that prescription painkiller-related deaths dropped by 25% in states where medical marijuana is legal
In January this year, based on the available evidence on the medicinal value of marijuana, a group of players in the American National Football League (NFL) submitted an official request to officials of the game to allow players in the league to use marijuana on medical grounds.
Per the current rules of the NFL, it is illegal for players to use marijuana. Officials classify marijuana in the same box as heroin. According to the players, this restriction is hurting many of their colleagues in the league. The NFL game is played with great strength and vigor. After each game, players need to take pain relief to remedy the tackles they sustained during the game.
Because marijuana is banned, players have no choice than to resort to the use of prescribed but dangerous painkillers. This ensures Big Pharma’s money-making ventures continue, all the while the lives of users become vulnerable, due to the side effects of these drugs. This has contributed to prescription painkillers becoming endemic across the United States. Statistics show the use of prescription painkillers is now more widespread in the United States than tobacco. Deaths associated with overdose of prescription painkillers are therefore rising. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, prescription painkillers killed nearly 20,000 people in 2016.
Of course, the NFL players submitting the petition know about the medicinal value of marijuana. They know the plant serves as a perfect drug to combat and relieve pain. The players are making reference to a very credible study on marijuana published in the Journal of American Medical Association to support their argument that the use of marijuana is far safer than painkillers.
According to the study published in 2014, in every state that has legalized medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010 (13 states in all), there was a 25 percent reduction in deaths related to the overdose of legally prescribed painkillers.
“The difference is quite striking,” said study co-author Colleen Barry, a health policy researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. She revealed that the trend became visible in every state a year after marijuana was legalized.
The study suggested because patients that experience chronic pain can substitute or supplement marijuana for their pain pills, they’re able to take smaller (or no) doses of the pills and are less likely to experience an overdose.
Barry said that it is “basically impossible” to die from an overdose on marijuana, revealing the substitution is the most likely reason for the reduction in deaths. Based on the evidence the researchers gathered, they concluded that an increased use in marijuana – instead of painkillers – for chronic pain is the most obvious explanation of the reduction in overdose deaths in those states with medical marijuana.
The researchers are supported with the figures. The number of Americans using marijuana is rising at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, a poll published by the American research company Gallup Incorporated revealed the percentage of American adults who smoke marijuana has nearly doubled in three years.
In 2013, Gallup poll revealed that 7 percent of American adults smoke marijuana, but the same poll in 2016 found the figure had increased to 13 percent. The 2016 elections also confirmed marijuana is gaining public acceptance in the United States. Although the media attention was on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, marijuana was also on the ballot in some states.
Marijuana won major ballot victories on Election Day. Medical marijuana legalization, on the ballot in Florida, received a whopping 71 percent support from voters. Medical marijuana legalization also received massive endorsement in Arkansas and North Dakota. Voters in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine also approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their territories.
According to observers, had marijuana been placed on the ballot nationwide, it would have swept through, gaining more votes than Trump and Clinton put together. Marijuana advocates say the sharp rise in marijuana use in the country is due to successes in educating the American public about medicinal and other beneficial values of the plant. People are responding to the education and are ridding their former negative perceptions about the plant.