Over the past decades, numerous states and countries worldwide have legalized cannabis, whether mainly for its medicinal use or for recreational purposes. In the medical field, one of the driving forces of its legalization is its numerous potentials in combating a wide array of diseases ranging from chronic pain and inflammation to more serious ones like neurological disorders.
The fields of medical cannabis research and applications are very promising, and with more discoveries and innovation, many think that these could be one of the most phenomenal stories in scientific history.In particular, because of a number of studies suggesting its efficacy in managing pain, medical cannabis has been once proposed to replace opioid in order to stop the deaths resulting from opioid overdose. For a long time, many believe that its legalization could put an end to this epidemic. Recently, a study has proven this to be false.
Cannabis does not actually decrease opioid-related deaths
According to a new study published in the scientific journal Addiction, the legalization of medical cannabis has only contributed minimal effects on the risk for life-threatening overdose cases among adult users of pain drugs containing opioid.
Wayne Hall, the main proponent of the study, and a professor at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, think that the link between medical cannabis use and the decrease in opioid abuse is very weak. Hall also mentioned that it is still probably too early to suggest that the growing acceptance of medical cannabis and the expanding access to policies can reduce the risks for opioid abuse in both the US and Canada.
Aside from that, the researchers were only able to find little to recommend that the growing acceptance of medical cannabis as a possible option to manage chronic pain. In fact, their study suggests that medical cannabis use did not lead to any significant decrease in deaths from opioid overdose at all.
The other side of the coin
Of course, supporters of medical cannabis have objected to the statements of the study and some of them have raised their arguments on this matter. Despite all of these results showing the relationship of the presence of medical cannabis laws and the rates of opioid-related deaths, the evidence for the findings of the present study seems to be lacking. Aside from that, there is no concrete proof of whether or not cannabis laws result in the decrease opioid-related deaths, or otherwise.
Also, the supporters of medical cannabis believe that the results may just be a result of misinterpretation and that other plausible factors which may affect opioid-related deaths should be studied to validate the claim. Furthermore, they think that present study should be replicated in other states and countries to ensure its validity in deciding whether cannabis legalization could indeed save the lives of thousands.
And although the result of the present study does not seem to favor medical cannabis, it does not prove false the efficiency of cannabis as a drug. With the growing desire for medical cannabis legalization, good-quality research should really catch up to verify these claims.