As most West Virginian residents are aware, the opioid crisis has only worsened in recent years. The epidemic has taken a significant toll on the eastern side of the United States, with West Virginia reporting some of the highest numbers of overdoses. While federal officials continue to grapple with this situation, many are turning to medical marijuana as an answer.
Last March, NBC News focused on the opioid epidemic and, using a recent study, revealed that states that legalized medical marijuana have seen a drop in the number of opioid hospitalizations. The numbers were hardly close: hospitalizations dropped roughly 23 percent in legalized states. Drug and Alcohol Dependence debunked claims that warned of future marijuana hospitalizations after legalization. Because there is no single answer to the opioid epidemic, health experts have reconsidered the ways medical marijuana could help fight addictions. There is still much to study when it comes to understanding the full effects of marijuana, but meanwhile, NBC notes that the opioid crisis claims 91 American lives per day.
Public Radio International also weighed in on the recent conversation regarding medical marijuana and its potential to help opioid addiction. Referring to studies that show the stark difference between the effects of marijuana and opiates, PRI notes that opioid use is highly more dangerous than that of marijuana. Furthermore, other studies show that people who use marijuana generally do not move on to harsher, riskier drugs. Some health experts are even turning to the benefits of marijuana to help the elderly deal with pain. The end result on whether all states will legalize this drug may be unclear, but a large majority of experts are hopeful that it could be one solution to a serious problem.