The opioid epidemic has taken a disastrous toll on this country. So perhaps it’s somewhat surprising that the solution to solving the problem might be found in another, sometimes illicit substance: marijuana. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in states where weed is legal for recreational or medical purposes, opioid prescriptions for Medicaid patients are lower.

As it happens, the more legal the weed, the more significant the decrease in opioid prescriptions. In states where only the medical use of cannabis is permitted, Medicaid-covered prescriptions are about 5.8 percent lower than in their non-420-friendly counterparts. However, in states where recreational use of medical marijuana is permitted, those numbers go down an additional 6.8 percent. As The Hill notes, 30 states and D.C. currently have some form of legal weed.

The authors of the study, Hefei Wen and Jason Hockenberry, explained that weed offers the pain-reducing benefits of opioids with “relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose.” The authors site “overprescribing” as the “driving force behind the opioid epidemic." Another study in the same publication found a similar correlation between legal weed and the declined use of opioids. In that study, states with legal medical marijuana, daily doses of opioids filled under Medicare Part D dropped by 8.5 percent. I guess the greatest weapon we have on the war on drugs is more drugs. How do you like them apples, Jeff Sessions?

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