Can a bud a day keep the opioids away? A study published this month in the Journal of Health Economics set out to find the answer. If it’s yes, then policymakers have a profitable new tool in their toolbox. It couldn’t come any sooner. Above all, the opioid crisis ravages people of any background. It sent at least 218,000 Americans to early graves from 1999 to 2017. That’s according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day opioids continue to claim more lives.
Researchers needed a big data set to determine if legal marijuana can reduce the rates of opioid use. To limit this, they focused on prescription opioids. It was still a whole lot of numbers to crunch. Opioid prescriptions quadrupled in the first 15 years of the new millennium. Lawmakers and doctors turned a blind eye as long as companies like Purdue Pharma kept paying out. At the same time, prohibitions against cannabis ended in more and more states. Every day researchers seem to find new medicinal applications for the once-maligned plant. As old stigmas yield to new science, more people wonder if buds can help knock downers out. The following list shows how and what researchers found in the largest study of its kind ever.