With prescription drug overdose deaths and heroin overdose deaths at all-time highs, lawmakers, health experts and other interested observers are looking for new ways to combat the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin. Now new research shows that medical marijuana could be used to treat addiction to these other drugs.
The studies, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Journal of Pain, found that medical cannabis may be effective at treating chronic pain and, in some cases, at helping prescription opioid addicts to wean off their habits.
Yet another study, which is soon to be published by the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank, found that states with legalized medical marijuana had fewer admissions to treatment centers for prescription drug abuse than states that have yet to legalize marijuana.
However, even the medical researchers who conducted the recent studies caution that the evidence does not yet show that marijuana can be used to treat prescription drug addiction. For example, Dr. Kevin Hill, a professor at the Harvard Medical School and one of the co-authors of the JAMA study, said that people should not read too much into the findings because the research does not conclusively indicate that marijuana will be an effective treatment option for prescription drug addiction or heroin addiction. Instead, said Hill, the data merely shows that there is a statistical correlation between marijuana use and fewer drug overdose deaths.
Additionally, some critics of the study that was published in the Journal of Pain note that the data comes from self-reporting by drug users, which could lead to at least some doubt about whether the use of medical marijuana by these individuals was actually effective at reducing their reliance on prescription painkillers.
For additional information, read the Yahoo.com article, “Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller and Heroin Addiction?”
Marijuana remains illegal in New Jersey. As a result, anyone caught with marijuana in NJ is subject to severe criminal penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with simple possession of marijuana, heroin possession, prescription drug possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your drug charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.