The opioid epidemic is one that lands close to home for me. From personal and family experience, to my work as a professional nurse, to Vermont having once led the nation in rates of opioid use disorder, I’m intimately familiar with the challenges and consequences of addiction, and I’m thrilled to see more research come online.
According to the New York Post, a study recently published in the British Medical Journal, based on data gathered by researchers at Yale and the University of California, Davis, found that “the more dispensaries a county had, the fewer opioid deaths they suffered.”
For this study, researchers took data from 812 different counties in 23 different states, combined it with state data on opioid deaths, and concluded that there was a “17% reduction in opioid deaths between 2014 and 2018 in regions with at least one cannabis dispensary, and a fall by 21% when the number of shops in the area increased from one to two. Add a third dispensary, and the rate fell by an additional 8.5%.”
“The more dispensaries a county had, the fewer opioid deaths they suffered.”
For a good chunk of my nursing career, I’ve worked with pregnant and parenting people who were struggling with opioid use disorder, and supported their newborns through medicated withdrawal for opioid exposure in utero. These findings not only give me great hope, but are incredibly important to other researchers, as well as the global cannabis community.
As this country moves forward in the legalization of cannabis, and we continue to see the slowly increasing acceptance of this remarkable plant, I know we will also continue to see decreases in opioid addiction and fatalities.
This data is a bit of sunshine and warmth on a cold snowy day in Vermont. It’s clear proof of the potential therapeutic possibilities cannabis offers, and clearly demonstrates the power of plant medicine. It’s also another tool to help us break the stigma of opioid use disorder, addiction, and bolster the acceptance of cannabis medicine.
Photos by Add Weed on Unsplash