Of Pot and Percocet
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Of Pot and Percocet
Posted by CN Staff on August 30, 2014 at 11:31:14 PT
By Marcus Bachhuber
Source: New York Times 
USA -- Prescription opioid painkillers like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin have come under intense scrutiny in recent years because of the drastic rise in overdose deaths associated with their prolonged use. Meanwhile, access to medical marijuana has been expanding — 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized its broad medical use — and chronic or severe pain is by far the most common condition reported among people using it.Could the availability of medical marijuana reduce the hazards of prescription painkillers? If enough people opt to treat pain with medical marijuana instead of prescription painkillers in states where this is legal, it stands to reason that states with medical marijuana laws might experience an overall decrease in opioid painkiller overdoses and deaths.
To find out if this has actually happened, we and our colleagues Brendan Saloner and Chinazo Cunningham studied opioid overdose deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2010. Our findings, which were published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that this unexpected benefit of medical marijuana laws does exist.Pinpointing the effect of laws on health is notoriously difficult. For one thing, states that have passed medical marijuana laws are no doubt different in important ways from states that have not passed such laws. Differences in, say, social attitudes about drug use or overall health trends might affect rates of opioid painkiller deaths, independent of whether medical marijuana is legal.Furthermore, from 1999 to 2010 (the period of time we studied), states implemented various measures in response to the threat of opioid painkiller overdoses, including central registries of controlled substance prescriptions, laws allowing pharmacists to request identification before filling a prescription and laws increasing oversight of pain management clinics. These measures, too, might affect rates of opioid painkiller deaths, regardless of the legality of medical marijuana.We designed our study to allow us to compare state-level rates of opioid painkiller overdose deaths before and after the passage of medical marijuana laws, while controlling for these and other concurrent state and national trends.Using death certificates compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that the rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths increased in all states from 1999 to 2010. But we also found that implementation of a medical marijuana law was associated with a 25 percent lower yearly rate of opioid painkiller overdose deaths, on average. In absolute terms, we estimated that states with a medical marijuana law had a total of about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed.This is the first study that we know of to suggest that medical marijuana laws could contribute to a decline in drug overdose deaths, and therefore it should be read with caution. Our study was not a controlled experiment, and it is possible that states with and without medical marijuana laws differed over time in important ways that we did not or cannot measure and that could explain, at least in part, our results.However, if medical marijuana laws are in fact reducing opioid overdose deaths, the next step is to figure out how and why. That people are replacing opioid painkillers in part or entirely with medical marijuana for chronic pain treatment is one possibility. Another possibility is that the availability of medical marijuana is changing the behavior of people who are addicted to and abuse or misuse opioids. We know that marijuana and opioids stimulate a common receptor in the brain’s reward pathways, but we don’t know whether people who misuse or abuse opioids for recreational purposes would switch to marijuana in states where it is legal for medical purposes.We hope the results of our study will spur further scientific investigation into the effects of these laws as well as the ways in which medical marijuana can and should be used in clinical practice.Marcus Bachhuber, an internist, is a clinical scholar at the Philadelphia V.A. Medical Center. Colleen Barry is an associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A version of this op-ed appears in print on August 31, 2014, on page SR12 of the New York edition with the headline: Of Pot and Percocet. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Marcus BachhuberPublished: August 31, 2014Copyright: 2014 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana  Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on September 01, 2014 at 05:14:37 PT
Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer's""“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by (1)decreasing amyloid beta levels, (2)inhibiting its aggregation, and (3)enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.---“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said.But, but, but, what if it were RE-legalized and NOT ILLICIT??????
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on August 31, 2014 at 17:21:39 PT
The Gary Shepherd Case
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 31, 2014 at 17:18:28 PT
Gary Shepherd
A fight for marijuana legalization, growing for 20 years
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 31, 2014 at 09:23:20 PT
April 20, to me, would be a good day
commemorating the loss of all the victims of the entire war on drugs. The Bowers were shot down on April 20. Mother and child shot through with the same giant caliber weaponry that brought down their plane and the rest of their family. Including another child. On a guess. Some killer guessed they might have drugs on board their missionary plane.Maybe we need an entire week.But that is one thing we could do. God knows it's been awful, bloody, and deadly. I see these faces in my mind so often. The memory, the face, the murder of Gary Shepherd is weighing extra heavy on my mind in recent months.  Think of him. Think of so many others. Think of what we are are hoping to really end.The fury I feel when some lowlife, stupid prohibitionist suggests that 'legalizers' just want to smoke their "drug" freely. Blah. Blah. Blah. Like really stupid children... unwilling to reason but big on taunting and persecution.Stupid, stupid prohibitionists. We want you to stop killing people. We want you to stop taking their children. We want you to stop hurting and imprisoning people. Stupid, Stupid prohibitionists.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on August 31, 2014 at 04:50:11 PT
Let food be thy medicine
Summit County resident and author of cannabis cookbook uses marijuana as a healing tool"""But prescription medications still weren’t responding. Finally, a doctor prescribed her an anti-seizure medication.“They said since I didn’t respond to the other meds this is probably my last chance,” she recalled. “I’m reading side effects, and it said if you start taking it and then you stop taking it, there’s a good chance you’ll start having seizures. I just thought ‘why would I do that to myself?’ I’m a healthy adult besides the migraines. That seemed crazy to give myself seizures if I miss a pill.”-0-Someone recently said or posted something indicating the Pharm companies are spending money to fight cannabis RE-legalization...That would make sense since they are screwing people to afford their rock n roll life style. Look, We need the pharm pill sometimes but they're going beyond that...Screw them. -Every chance We get.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on August 30, 2014 at 19:30:45 PT
Hope, April 20 sounds good. 
I never thought about a holiday to honor the fallen citizens preyed on by the bad evil.It is shameful what this country has done to citizens who have chosen to use the relatively safe God-given plant.So shameful that it is an extreme eye opener every day this farce continues. Every week more reason and science points to ending cannabis prohibition RIGHT NOW and for it to continue exposes how bad the US government really is!!! -Rabid vultures. -Rabid vampires.April 20 sounds good. -0-Other countries beware. If this is what the US government does to it's own citizens, what do other countries think will happen to them? Look at the history...Big money in screwing people. Mowing people down in exchange for riches.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on August 30, 2014 at 19:02:03 PT
We need a holiday some day honoring all the unjustly dead of the war on drugs. We need a day of honor for all the unjustly murder, the fallen, the wounded, those driven to suicide, those imprisoned, and all the persecuted and vilified, in this dreadful time of uncalled for war, police militarization and intimidation, imprisonment, nightmare home invasions, nightmare privacy invasions, theft, murder, persecution, intimidation, and demonization. Oh Lord, let it, prohibition of cannabis, be over, far and wide, throughout the earth. Let people not have to endure and see this persecution and injustice. Stop the persecutors and the merciless judges. I and many others would be grateful to see it.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 30, 2014 at 17:56:10 PT
Let 'em have it.
More news to bombard cannabis prohibitionists.Cannabis prohibitionists are going to have to find someone else to pick on.
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