Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana patient advocacy group, on Thursday released a paper on the opioid crisis and how cannabis medicines can help break the addiction cycle in prescription pain medication abuse. The paper uses Michigan as a case study of the effectiveness of the state’s medical marijuana program in diminishing the deaths and hospitalizations reported.
According to the document, based on national statistics Michigan’s medical marijuana program resulted in 531 lives saved and 23% fewer hospitalizations in Michigan from opioid exposure. The paper is titled “Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy” and was announced via a press release. The blueprint reports that states with medical marijuana programs see a 25% reduction in opioid deaths, and in Michigan that math yields a life-saving total of 531 people.
“Research shows that opioid deaths have decreased in states with medical cannabis laws by as much as 25% and has found a 23% reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse,” the blueprint states, citing published research from the Journal of the American Medical Association and Drug and Alcohol Dependence magazine. “Michigan lost 2,126 individuals to opioid overdoses in the last year. If we consider the research which supports an up to 25% decrease in medical cannabis states, an additional 531 individuals could have been victims if it were not for the state’s medical cannabis program.”
The blueprint’s intent is to inspire change in state medical marijuana programs which increase enrollment. Michigan already has the nation’s second largest population of registered cannabis patients, with more than a quarter-million Michiganders enrolled in the state database.
There are more than 5 million Michigan residents who are prevented from registering to use medicinal cannabis, and that’s a problem, per the blueprint. That includes more than