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Legalized Medical Marijuana: Could It Cure the Epidemic of Painkiller Overdoses?

Legalized Medical Marijuana: Could It Cure the Epidemic of Painkiller Overdoses?

By Rich Smith September 7, 2014

America in 2014 faces an epidemic of drug overdoses. But it’s not heroin, crack cocaine, or methamphetamines that’s killing us. It’s opioid pain relievers.

But new research just published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that recent moves to legalize the use of medical marijuana for pain management may help to reverse the tide of opioid drug overdoses. Could it be that pot is part of the solution to this problem?

A bit of background
Opioids produced by Big Pharma include such recognized brand-names as Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), and most famously, morphine. Defined by the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as “medications that relieve pain” by reducing “the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain,” these and other opioids “can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and, depending upon the amount of drug taken, can depress respiration.”

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