Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medicinal purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average.
At the same time, fears that legalization of medical marijuana would lead to an uptick in cannabis-related hospitalizations proved unfounded, according to the report in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
In 2014, Dr. Marcus Bachhuber conducted a study. Bachhuber, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx; found that deaths from opioid overdoses fell by 25 percent in states that legalized medical marijuana.
Since last year, when New York rolled out its medical marijuana program, Bachhuber has included cannabis in a menu of options he offers his patients who suffer chronic or severe pain from neuropathy and HIV/AIDS, he said in a phone interview.
Many of Bachhuber’s patients ask for help quitting highly addictive opioids, and some have used marijuana to taper off the prescription painkillers, he said. Read more from NBC NEWS.