By Andrew G. Simpson
Medical marijuana laws could be a boon to those battling the opioid epidemic, according to researchers who have identified a link between increased access to medical marijuana and a reduction in opioid prescriptions.
The studies suggest medical marijuana laws (MMLs) have helped save and could continue to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars now being lost to opioid addiction.
There is a downside: The promise of MMLs in reducing opioid use shows up thus far in urban areas, but not in rural America.
The marijuana laws have an effect similar to when any replacement for a drug is introduced, say researchers. In this case, marijuana appears to be a substitute for opioids as a pain medication in many cases.
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