Can Marijuana Help Addicts Kick Opioids?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

According to research published earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014 coincided with a 6.5 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths. The researchers studied the opioid overdose rate in the state from 2000 to 2015, and found that after 14 years of a steady rise in opioid overdose deaths, the rate decreased by an average of 0.7 deaths per month.
My response:
The  study failed to account for the following:
•             Increased public education about the dangers of opioid prescribing (In 2014, 10.3% of patients received high-dose opioid prescriptions which was reduced to 8.7% in 2016)
•             Use of PDMP  (The rate of multiple provider episodes per 100,000 residents decreased from 60 in 2014 to 32 in 2016)
•             Wider distribution of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone (2011: 997 to 2015: 3,393)
•             Move from Rx opioids to heroin (Heroin overdose deaths increased 50% from 2014 to 2016 while opioid deaths decreased 12%.) Failure to quantify the impacts of the above make it unlikely any researcher could separate out the impacts of all of                them from another potential factor.
In addition, there is legitimate research that shows that marijuana use primes the brain for opioid addiction. #FakeNews