Science

Science calls out Jeff Sessions on medical marijuana and the historic drug epidemic

*legality of cannabis for medicinal purposes
BLUE : Legal or essentially legal | LIGHT BLUE : Illegal but decriminalized | LIGHT RED : Illegal but often unenforced | RED : Illegal | GREY : No information


Marijuana can be habit-forming, at least psychologically, but the risks are not in the same league as opioids. A 20-year epidemiological review of studies concluded that more than 9 out of 10 people who try marijuana do not become dependent on the drug. The review paper, published in 2014, said the “lifetime risk of developing dependence among those who have ever used cannabis was estimated at 9 percent in the United States in the early 1990s as against 32 percent for nicotine, 23 percent for heroin, 17 percent for cocaine, 15 percent for alcohol and 11 percent for stimulants.”

And a significant number of pain sufferers would apparently prefer to use medical marijuana instead of prescription painkillers. A study published in July 2016 in Health Affairs explored what happened to Medicare (Part D) painkiller prescriptions after states green-lighted medical marijuana laws, and found that a typical physician in a state with medical cannabis prescribed 1,826 fewer painkiller doses for Medicare patients in a given year—because seniors instead turned to medical pot. There were also hundreds fewer doses prescribed for antidepressants, anti-nausea medications and antianxiety drugs. [The current attorney general’s] congressional letter, which was dated May 1… urges lawmakers to remove the legal impediment that keeps his office from spending cash on interfering with state medical marijuana programs, a safeguard for dispensaries formally called the Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment. That provision expires at the end of September, and would have to be renewed to remain the law of the land—a timeline that guarantees medical marijuana will be discussed in Congress in the coming months.on.

From the Article (Scientific American):
Science calls out Jeff Sessions on medical marijuana and the historic drug epidemic
Artwork Fair Use: Charles Webb Lethco

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