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Mary Jane vs Orange County

By Timothy Cocks Science and the world 15 Jul 2016

From the Washington Post

One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana


“..they found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.

But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.”

Marijuana vs Opioids
Click image for source

Oxycodone, OxyContin, Oxy, OC, Orange County

From the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention report published 1 January 2016

“More persons died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record.

Opioids, primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin, are the main drugs associated with overdose deaths.

The 2014 data demonstrate that the United States’ opioid overdose epidemic includes two distinct but interrelated trends: a 15-year increase in overdose deaths involving prescription opioid pain relievers and a recent surge in illicit opioid overdose deaths, driven largely by heroin.

Natural and semisynthetic opioids, which include the most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. 

Drug overdose deaths involving heroin continued to climb sharply, with heroin overdoses more than tripling in 4 years. This increase mirrors large increases in heroin use across the country (5) and has been shown to be closely tied to opioid pain reliever misuse and dependence.”

Reason vs irrationality 

A broader context here can’t be ignored. In the United States, where prescription opioids are killing more people than anywhere else in the world, the history of the (il)legality of marijuana has been dominated by politics, moralistic and religious arguments, and a more sinister undercurrent of racism (see Opium, Cocaine and Marijuana in American History, for example). Clearly, a reasoned approach to medical marijuana is required, and despite calls to ‘build a wall’ (a position that echoes the very same racism and bigotry that enshrouded the irrational lawmaking of past decades) there is perhaps a little hope that reason will prevail and science and research can move in.

-Tim Cocks


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