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Several U.S. Studies Show That Pot Can Save Lives

With marijuana becoming legal in Canada in July, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health hopes that pot can be part of the solution to the opioid crisis.

Dr. David Colby says there have been plenty of studies in the U.S. over the years that show there are up to 25% fewer fatal opioid overdoses in states that have legal marijuana. Colby says marijuana carries essentially zero risk of fatal overdose and gives the public more choice to deal with chronic pain.

“Natural cannabis products are so non-toxic that overdose deaths simply do not occur. There have been occasional overdose deaths on synthetic cannabinoid products but those are not what we’re talking about here,” says Colby.

A preliminary study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health says opiate overdose deaths in Colorado dropped by 6.5% over two years after marijuana became legal in 2014.

The Washington Post reports states with legalized marijuana have thousands fewer opiate-related overdose deaths each year.

Dr. Colby says there are large and robust studies showing that pot won’t kill anyone like pain pills can and it may be one piece of the puzzle to solve the opioid epidemic.

“If they’re able to displace a certain amount of opiate use, especially among people with chronic pain, I think we’re going to see fewer people becoming opioid dependent and fewer overdose deaths,” the doctor says.

Colby warns that people can’t get addicted to marijuana like they can with pain pills or alcohol but can become dependent on pot.

“People don’t get ill from withdrawal of cannabis like they do with alcohol. That’s called delirium tremens and it can be fatal,” Colby says.