A brand new examine is making the rounds and those that oppose authorized marijuana are sounding the demise knell for the idea that authorized cannabis use has led to a discount in opioid use, overdoses and demise.
To start in the beginning, a lot of you might be doubtless conversant in a examine printed in 2014 that confirmed fewer opioid deaths in states that had legalized medical marijuana previous to 2010. It’s a examine that has been cited by many – myself included – when making the case for cannabis being useful in getting individuals off opioid painkillers.
However a brand new examine appears to immediately contradict that earlier examine. From The Atlantic:
[A] new paper, printed immediately within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, throws chilly water on that dream. A brand new set of researchers replicated a part of the 2014 examine’s findings: That’s, from 1999 to 2010, it’s true that the introduction of medical- marijuana legal guidelines was related to a decline in opioid-overdose deaths. However when the researchers included states that launched legal guidelines between 2010 and 2017, the route of the connection reversed. As a substitute of a discount in opioid overdoses, medical marijuana was related to a 23 p.c enhance in overdose deaths.
“For those who believed the outcomes of the primary examine, it’s onerous to argue that you simply don’t consider the outcomes of the second, because the strategies are the identical,” says Chelsea Shover, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford College and an writer of the brand new PNAS examine.
From this, the article’s writer deduces that the hope that marijuana may assist these affected by opioid dependancy has formally been destroyed. The truth is, from this one examine comes the article’s headline “The Misplaced Optimism in Authorized Pot.” A dire flip of occasions certainly.
I suppose if one assumed that no different research have been achieved on this concern within the final 5 years – which the article’s writer apparently does, with out bothering to verify – they could possibly be forgiven for coming to that conclusion.
However the issue with that assumption is that it’s demonstrably unsuitable. With out ever leaving The Marijuana Instances web site, yow will discover this story about two research (masking 2010-2015 and 2011-2016) that present a drop within the variety of opioid doses prescribed in medical marijuana states. Right here’s a examine that reveals a lower in opioid-related deaths in Colorado after the beginning of adult-use retail gross sales in 2014.
Want extra? How about dozens of research achieved since 2014 on opioid use and cannabis? Not sufficient? Possibly this examine masking the years 1999-2015 is useful? What about this one exhibiting the optimistic results of medical marijuana dispensaries on opioid deaths?
You get the purpose. A little analysis goes a good distance, particularly in case you’re actually attempting to provide your readers extra well-rounded info. However sadly we reside in a clickbait world the place one Tweet can prop up an entire story, i.e. “[Insert celebrity name here] Faces Backlash on Twitter After [Insert thing no one actually cares about here].” On this world, citing one examine whereas ignoring a number of dozen means the optimism in authorized marijuana is misplaced. It additionally means “journalism” isn’t what it was once.
I might be remiss if I ended this piece with out mentioning that I don’t actually care if marijuana helps those that use opioids; that’s not a purpose it needs to be authorized, it’s merely one other optimistic aspect impact if it does. Marijuana needs to be authorized as a result of those that use, possess, develop and promote it aren’t infringing on the rights of anybody else. That’s it. Each different optimistic factor that comes from legalization is icing on the justice cake.