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States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths 217

An anonymous reader writes: Narcotic painkillers aren't one of the biggest killers in the U.S., but overdoses do claim over 15,000 lives per year and send hundreds of thousands to the emergency room. Because of this, it's interesting that a new study (abstract) has found states that allow the use of medical marijuana have seen a dramatic reduction in opioid overdose fatalities. "Previous studies hint at why marijuana use might help reduce reliance on opioid painkillers. Many drugs with abuse potential such as nicotine and opiates, as well as marijuana, pump up the brain's dopamine levels, which can induce feelings of euphoria. The biological reasons that people might use marijuana instead of opioids aren't exactly clear, because marijuana doesn't replace the pain relief of opiates. However, it does seem to distract from the pain by making it less bothersome." This research comes at a time when the country is furiously debating the costs and benefits of marijuana use, and opponents of the idea are paying researchers to paint it in an unfavorable light.
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States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths

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  • Painkillers, HA! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @04:56PM (#47792367)

    First mistake, opoids are not painkillers, they're brain killers. They do not affect the pain, they merely mess you up so bad you no longer care if anything hurts.
    I'm in constant pain, 24/7, and tried the opoid "painkillers". They also killed my life, I was so brain dead I could accomplish only the bare minimum hygienic tasks.
    I got off the opoids (a significant achievement) and started smoking pot to deal with the pain. Sure, it hurts more now, but the pot allows me to deal with it.

    And since I live in a State that has not even legalized medical pot due to all the damn liars about the so called "dangers" I'm an Anonymous Coward.

  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @05:01PM (#47792409) Homepage Journal

    We will not solve the problem with illegal immigration until we figure out how to do something sane instead of the War on Drugs. Right now the unintended consequence of the War on Drugs is that south of the border, drug lords are about as well (if not better?) funded as the governments, destroying the local economies. Some of the people seeking jobs in those economies end up coming to the US in search of work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @05:08PM (#47792437)

    The War on Drugs was targeted towards societal changes as a way to cut them off by giving a legal means to attack their perceived underpinnings

    Marijuana and hallucinogens were seen as being a part (if not the cause) of the societal changes in the 50's and 60's and the laws that set both of those classes of drugs as the most dangerous and addictive were based on the expectations of the conservative norms of the day.

    Like so many things it takes decades to reverse the regressive mistakes of panic-driven politics

  • by TarPitt ( 217247 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @06:34PM (#47792789)

    Like Prohibition - which was not so much anti-alcohol, as a white rural reaction against the growing dominance of urban areas and their populations of (beer drinking) immigrants. It was an early form of our culture wars, with the drugs acting as a proxy for reaction against deeper social changes.

  • Re:Painkillers, HA! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:13PM (#47792943)
    Heroin is what all opiate based pain medication is based on. It's all opiates, whether it's a $10 bag of heroin bought on the street, melted on a spoon and transferred to a needle to be injected directly into one's bloodstream, or the painkiller your doctor prescribed. It all has the same effect on the brain. If you are taking a pain killer, you basically are a heroin user. It's all opiates.

    20+ years ago, a friend of mine was dieing from stomach cancer. Hospice, home to die. Doctor's gave him 2 months to live, he lasted seven. He had an I.V. drip hooked up to him in his bedroom, a metering device programmed by the R.N. to administer regulated doses of morphine, with a large red button that we could press to give him an extra dose of morphine. The man had bedsores that were excruciating for him to deal with, on top of the stomach cancer pain.

    This was in 1992. There was no such thing then as medical marijuana. Whenever that man wanted to smoke pot, we made sure it was there for him, and yes, it eased his pain. There was never a need for discussion of whether it was legal. He needed it, he got it. And pot wasn't as powerful then as todays strains are.

    To deny anyone in legitimate legal pain from having access to medical marijuana is a crime against humanity. No politician should have the right to 'decree' that people in pain should be denied easement of their pain, in my opinion.

    Legalization of marijuana comes with many caveats. I do not want my bus/cab/train/plane drivers/pilots using marijuana, the THC content of todays marijuana are much stronger than they were back in the 1960's. Someone ingesting THC can 'fade out' while driving, or else we will see more of these type of videos.... []

    To be made broadly legal will involve a learning curve of laws that will need to be enacted. If your job involves transporting people, pot (like alcohol), needs to be used responsibly, and never 'on the job', especially since today's pot potency is much higher than what it was from days past.

  • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:15PM (#47792951) Journal
    I'm in the US and have been a daily potsmoker for the last 8 years (barring a few months break). I have never seen tobacco mixed into a joint, not once... it seems to be a European thing. Now, there is the practice of using cigar wraps to roll a "blunt", and sometimes those cigar wraps are made from tobacco pulp, so that could be seen as mixing tobacco with marijuana. I prefer not to smoke blunts, either.

    Scraping the crystals (technically trichromes) off cannabis is how hashish is made. Dissolving it into a solvent, then evaporating the solvent, gives liquid hash oil (also called honey oil, dabs, wax). Dabs are becoming more prevalent within the past few years as they are theoretically healthier, having a better ratio of plant material to THC. A recent issue of High Times featured a method of extracting hash oil using drinking-grade ethanol, instead of butane which was the formerly used process. Not only is it less likely to explode, it also placates people who are arbitrarily afraid of "chemicals", so I see dabs gaining massive popularity within the next few years.
  • The War on Drugs has been a failure- it's put millions of people in prison, cost our society billions of dollars, and fueled honest-to-God warfare in South America and Mexico-

    The War on Drugs has been a complete success. It's put millions of people in prison (At significant profit to certain sectores), funneled millions of dollars to contractors at a cost to society of billions of dollars (to say nothing of the lost lives) and fueled honest-to-God warfare in South and Central America, ensuring a steady supply of cheap labor and a fairly effective barrier which deters most Norteamericanos from migrating South to more friendly environments like Panama or Costa Rica by car, van, bus, or box truck.

    I think alcohol and Prohibition are a good parallel here.

    Sigh. If you really understood the situation as well as you think you do, you'd know that the people behind the "War on Drugs" were completely aware of the results of prohibition; it doesn't matter if it's of alcohol or marijuana. They knew that it increased demand and literally created a profitable criminal class.

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