When Colorado became one of the first states to legalize marijuana, there were voices of opposition railing it would be the gateway to harder drugs. Now, a new study reveals legal marijuana may actually be saving lives.
Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the research examined the link between the legalization of recreational use cannabis in Colorado and the number of opioid-related deaths. What study authors discovered was one of the only places in the nation so far to have experienced a reversal in the upward trend of opioid deaths. Following the opening of the first shops selling recreational use marijuana in 2014, Colorado’s opioid deaths dropped by 6 percent over the course of two years.
Researchers were careful to say these findings are preliminary, and examine the just two years of data in a single state. However, those results are promising, and echo the voices of support have been saying from the beginning: Marijuana – which has far fewer risks compared to opiates – can be used as a substitute for those who might otherwise turn to more powerful (and dangerous) prescription drugs. Continue reading