Since a few days ago Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the United States, had made an announcement that he wanted to crack down on Medical Marijuana. He had stated that there was no proof that Medical Marijuana could help and that it is highly addictive and will cause more damage in the long run.
Amid a drug crisis that kills 91 people in the US each day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to help roll back protections that have shielded medical marijuana dispensaries from federal prosecutors since 2014, according to a letter made public this week. Those legal controls which bar Sessions’s Justice Department from funding crackdowns on the medical cannabis programs legalized by 29 states and Washington, D.C. jeopardize the DoJ’s ability to combat the country’s “historic drug epidemic” and control dangerous drug traffickers, the attorney general wrote in the letter sent to lawmakers.
The catch, however, is that this epidemic is one of addiction and overdose deaths fueled by opioids—heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers—not marijuana. In fact, places where the U.S. has legalized medical marijuana have lower rates of opioid overdose deaths.
A review of the scientific literature indicates marijuana is far less addictive than prescription painkillers. A 2016 survey from University of Michigan researchers, published in the The Journal of Pain, found that chronic pain suffers who used cannabis reported a 64 percent drop in opioid use as well as fewer negative side effects and a better quality of life than they experienced under opioids. In a 2014 study reported in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors found that annual opioid overdose deaths were about 25 percent lower on average in states that allowed medical cannabis compared with those that did not.
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 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.