(NaturalNews) Groundbreaking research published in the respected journal JAMA Internal Medicine has revealed new benefits to the denouement of marijuana prohibition throughout the U.S. It turns out that states where medical cannabis use is no longer a criminal offense are reporting substantially fewer deaths associated with pharmaceutical painkiller use, suggesting that more people in legalized states are turning to the safe cannabis herb for pain relief rather than Big Pharma’s death pills.
The study, which compares the number of pharmaceutical-related deaths in the 13 states where medical marijuana was legal prior to 2010 to states where medical marijuana is still prohibited, reveals that legal cannabis states have a 25 percent lower rate of opioid mortality. Factored out, this equates to about 1,729 fewer painkiller deaths in 2010 alone in states where medical patients have access to the cannabis herb as a pharmaceutical alternative.
While opioid-related deaths still increased across the board among all U.S. states during the time period studied, those states with legal cannabis saw a substantially smaller increase, signifying a major public health benefit to “freeing the weed.” Rather than having to take deadly opioid drugs like Percocet or OxyContin for chronic pain, medical marijuana users can take advantage of top-shelf cannabis strains that provide better pain relief with no harmful side effects.
The study, led by researchers from both the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University, also found that as many as 60 percent of all deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses occur in patients who take them as directed with legitimate prescriptions. This illustrates the inherent dangers of these drugs – dangers that are not present with cannabis use.
“Results reveal that on average, the 13 states allowing the use of medical marijuana had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate after the laws were enacted than states without the laws, indicating that the alternative treatment may be safer for patients suffering from chronic pain related to cancer and other conditions,” report the researchers.