New law allows Colorado doctors to recommend medical marijuana over opiates
A new law in Colorado is likely to be highly effective at fighting the opiate abuse epidemic, which is highly encouraging marijuana news. Doctors are now able to recommend marijuana over prescription opiates! That’s going to mean that a lot of people will be using marijuana instead of taking prescribed opiates, which is going to reduce overdoses, keep people off a path of addiction, and save lives!
What exactly does the new law change?
The new law allows physicians to recommend marijuana instead of opiate painkillers for any patient who would otherwise be given a prescription for opiates, which has been a major marijuana news story. In the past, doctors were only able to recommend medical marijuana for people who had certain specific conditions, which is going to greatly increase the number of people who will be eligible for a medicinal marijuana prescription.
How will it help people?
Overdoses on opiates have become staggeringly common in recent years, and it’s estimated that 42,000 Americans suffer a fatal overdose on opiate drugs every year. That’s an average of around 130 people every day, which means that opiate overdoses have occurred frequently in the state of Colorado.
Not only that but being prescribed opiates can make an individual more likely to use illicit opiates, such as heroin. These substances are exceptionally dangerous due to the fact that these drugs contain unknown ingredients and dosages that are not known to the user. In fact, 160 Colorado residents overdosed on heroin in 2015. The use of marijuana has been proven to have only mild side effects that are quite easy to manage for most users, and there has never been a single death in recorded history that was directly caused by cannabis, which is a truly exceptional and unparalleled safety record.
Furthermore, opiates are becoming increasingly dangerous. Major pharmaceutical companies have created opiates that are even stronger than anything that was available in the past during recent years, such as a drug called Opana that recently hit the market, which has created a lot of controversies. Due to the extreme potency of this medication, if a person without a high opiate tolerance were to inadvertently take two of the pills, it could result in a life-threatening overdose.
Illicit opiates have become more dangerous in recent years as a result of the fact that many of these substances are cut with ultra-potent opiates, such as fentanyl and sufentanil. This reduces the amount of the drug that a user would have to take to experience a life-threatening overdose. In fact, it’s estimated that fentanyl overdoses have become 540% more common during the period of 2013-2016, which is a startling rise given the short period of time.
The new legislation would reduce the number of opiates that are sold on the streets, which could have a major impact on the crisis. This is a major factor that drives the opiate epidemic as 12 million people in the United States reported using opiate medications for non-medical purposes in a one-year period.
How many people will likely receive medical marijuana instead of opiates?
The new law is likely to affect an exceptionally large portion of the population as 35% of people suffer from some form of chronic pain. Due to the fact that 5.61 million people live in the state of Colorado, one could expect that around two million people in the state struggle with chronic pain. Due to the fact that doctors in the state now have the option to prescribe marijuana over opiates, a lot of physicians are likely to make the decision to prescribe medical marijuana instead of opiates given that 77% of doctors support medicinal cannabis, which is a figure that’s likely to increase as more research on marijuana is done.
The new law could lead to improved public health for the people of Colorado
The use of opiates can cause a variety of long-term health complications, and these risks are not associated with medicinal marijuana. For example, the use of prescribed opiates over a long period of time is believed to increase one’s risk of dementia, which is a common problem in the elderly. In fact, it’s estimated that around 3-5% of people over the age of 65 suffer from some form of dementia. Not only does medicinal cannabis not pose the risk of triggering the development of dementia, but it may even reduce one’s risk of suffering from the condition due to its neuroprotective properties, which is great news for seniors who use it!
In addition, the use of opiates can cause one’s pain to become more severe over time. That’s because opiates cause the pain receptors in the body to become more sensitive. As a result of this, individuals may begin to take increasing dosages of opiates despite the fact that it is actually making their pain worse. However, marijuana does not cause this side effect, which means that it can continue to provide pain relief as long as a patient needs.
Other states might create similar laws in the future
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana, which means states that have recently legalized medical or recreational cannabis often look to Colorado for ideas about how to structure their own marijuana legislation. In addition, similar laws have already passed in both Illinois and New York, which both have fairly extensive medical marijuana programs.
What states might implement similar legislation in the future?
There are eleven states that have legalized recreational marijuana and may implement similar legislation to what Colorado just passed in the future. In addition, 95% of the population lives in a state where medicinal cannabis is legal, which means that legislation similar to what Colorado just passed could eventually be on the books throughout almost all of the country.
How could the passage of similar laws in more states benefit the whole country?
Not only could thousands of lives be saved, but this type of legislation could be beneficial for the US economy as well. Many people who die of opiate overdoses are in their 30s or 40s, and as a result, the average economic loss caused by an opiate overdose death is a staggering $800,000. That means that opiate overdose deaths alone have an economic cost to the nation of more than 3 billion dollars every year.
This does not even take into account the missed days from work and job losses that are caused by opiate addiction. If cannabis tended to be prescribed by the country’s doctors for chronic pain patients instead of opiates, this could lead to a drastic reduction in opiate overdoses, which would lead to a more robust economy.
Opiate addiction is a serious epidemic that the nation is facing, and the new legislation in Colorado could play a major role in combating this crisis. Colorado is not the first state to implement a law that allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to any patient who would otherwise receive an opiate, which indicates that more states may pass similar laws in the future and put a major dent in the opiate crisis! Keep up to date on the latest marijuana news when it comes to how this legislation in Colorado affects the country.