Why Elizabeth Warren Thinks Legalizing Could Help
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Why Elizabeth Warren Thinks Legalizing Could Help
Posted by CN Staff on February 13, 2016 at 12:27:04 PT
By Christopher Ingraham 
Source: Washington Post
USA -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explore the use of medical marijuana as an alternative to the powerful opioid painkillers that kill thousands of people each year.In a letter to CDC chief Tom Friedan, the Massachusetts Democrat also asks the agency to look into “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.”
From a public health standpoint, Warren is right. There is a lot of potential here. Here’s a rundown of what the research has shown so far:Marijuana is effective at treating painA big meta-analysis of 79 studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association found solid evidence that marijuana is effective at treating chronic pain. The researchers noted “30% or greater improvement in pain with cannabinoid compared with placebo.”Marijuana is safe when used to treat painA Canadian study published last year in the journal Pain found no evidence of serious side effects among medical marijuana users after a year of treatment. Users did report some incidence of “non-serious” side effects, such as coughing and dizziness, however.Medical marijuana users are less likely to drink or take other painkillersResearch published last year in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review found that 80 percent of medical marijuana users reported substituting pot for painkillers, and 52 percent said they drank less when taking medical marijuana.“The high rate of substitution for prescribed substances, particularly among patients with pain-related conditions, suggests that further research into cannabis/cannabinoids as a potentially safer substitute for or adjunct to opiates is justified,” the researchers concluded.States with medical marijuana laws have fewer painkiller overdose deathsIn 2014, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that states with medical marijuana laws saw a 24.8 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths, compared with states without such laws. That worked out to about 1,700 fewer deaths in 2010 alone.Medical marijuana availability decreases the rate of opioid dependency and death An NBER working paper published last year found that the presence of marijuana dispensaries was associated with a 15 percent to 35 percent decrease in substance abuse admissions and a similar drop in opiate overdose deaths.“Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers,” the researchers concluded.One important thing to note: All of the studies above were published in the past 18 months or so. This is a fairly new angle of inquiry, and the results suggest it is a highly promising one.The CDC could play a leading role in fostering more of this type of research in the future, and the need for it is critical: Nearly 20,000 people died from prescription opiate overdoses in 2014, according to the CDC.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:    Christopher Ingraham Published: February 13, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 14, 2016 at 07:12:14 PT
Former Surgeon General Calls for MJ Acceptance
Former Surgeon General Calls for Marijuana AcceptanceURL:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 13, 2016 at 20:27:55 PT
I agree!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 13, 2016 at 14:30:39 PT
A few things I want to say,
First off, if I had My way, Liz would be Our 1st female president after Bernies terms.2nd, Warren is spot on. Not only could cannabis help lower hard drug addiction rates and save lives, it would help fix other problems and do so with less side effects. Lower alcohol rates, etc. NOTE: cannabis side effects do not include DEATH!Again, I've been saying this for years and I've learned about it from other people saying it before Me for years so this is nothing new.Perhaps by Warren speaking out and now the Washington Post backing it up, there will be additional push for momentum.Perhaps the push needed for Obama to make a change, which He indicated wasn't in the agenda (which I don't believe). 3rd. There are a lot of people who are saying that lowering the hard drug addiction rates and overdose deaths is serious and a top priority. IT'S TIME TO GO FROM DOING THE TALK TO DOING THE WALK & there is NO reason to believe cannabis can not help. 
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