New research has found that the legalization of cannabis is associated with reduced use of nonprescription opioids, nicotine and alcohol. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington. Its findings were reported in the “Journal of Adolescent Health.”
For their study, the researchers conducted an analysis of data on trends of substance use in the period between 2014 and 2019. The data, which was obtained from more than 12,000 adults, led to the discovery that individuals who were 21 to 25 years of age were less prone to consuming more “dangerous” drugs after they were legalized within the state.
The study abstract stated that the putting into operation of legalized recreational cannabis coincided with reductions in cigarette and alcohol use and the misuse of pain relievers, which doesn’t align with concerns that legalization would lead to an increase of the use of the aforementioned substances. The study also noted that the weakening link of the use of marijuana with the use of other substances among individuals who are 21 to 25 years old suggested increased need of marijuana-specific efforts for prevention and treatment.
The study did find that the rates of using e-cigarettes grew among this age group post-2016.
In a blog post, NORML deputy director Paul Armentano stated that data from legalization states disputed claims that marijuana was a gateway drug, with marijuana regulation being connected to the reduced use of other substances, such as various prescription medications. A separate study also concluded that the legalization of cannabis was linked to a reduction in the use of prescription drugs indicated for treating conditions such as seizures, pain, sleep and anxiety.
In addition to this, several other studies have identified links between decreased pharmaceutical prescriptions with the enactment of medical marijuana legalization at state level. In 2021, one study found that the use of medical cannabis was linked to an increase in quality of life and significant decreases in addiction to opioids and other prescription medications.
Additionally, a meta-study whose findings were released in 2020 suggested that cannabis could be used as an alternative to opioid-based painkillers because it demonstrated promise as a treatment alternative against chronic pain. That year, scientists also published findings from a study which demonstrated that marijuana could alleviate symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Furthermore, in 2019, researchers determined that states with legal access to cannabis experienced reductions in opioid prescriptions. Separate research that was released months before this study demonstrated that the daily consumption of cannabis was linked to decreased opioid consumption among patients with chronic pain.
All this scientific data suggests that the cannabis products sold in legal markets by companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) are more beneficial than industry detractors would want to admit.
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