According to the National Bureau of Economic Researchers, states that have medical cannabis dispensaries programs have seen a 15% reduction of admissions into rehabilitation centers for pain medication abuse, and a 16% decrease in overdoses.
In the first study to track opioid addiction as opposed to only opioid overdoses, researchers looked at those admitted to treatment centers for opioid addiction, opioid related deaths, and the amount of opioid prescriptions that were legally sold in the United States. The rate opioid painkillers were prescribed in states with medical marijuana dispensaries did not differ from states without dispensaries, suggesting "the reductions in addiction and overdoses in states with marijuana dispensaries result from people seeking medical marijuana to alleviate their pain, as opposed to obtaining painkillers illegally." These reductions in opioid addiction and opioid related deaths only appeared in states with legal dispensaries, not just in states with legal medical marijuana.
Marijuana's ability to treat pain and reduce opioid addiction and opioid related deaths without the possibility of overdose could make it an important player in the fight against the opioid substance abuse epidemic. Read more about this study on Blaze Now.