According to a study done by UNT researchers, the use of marijuana may reduce opioid-related deaths.
Melvin Livingston is the lead author of a recent study as well as an assistant professor at UNT Health Science Center. According to Livingston, even though marijuana could reduce the death amounts related to opioid use, it does not mean that smoking marijuana is overall positive.
The study which was published this past October revealed that legal recreational marijuana use lowered the amount of opioid overdose deaths in the state of Colorado by 6 percent during a two-year-period that started in 2013.
Livingston remarked that it was only two years of data that was available for the team to study.
“We have relatively little data to go on. Right now, there are a flurry of studies being done. If we could replicate the data, it would have an impact,” he explained.
The team compared the study to opioid death related data from the state from 2000 to 2015. During the previous 13 years, opioid deaths had a steady increase.
“Now we’re in a scramble to to figure out the unintended consequences, good and bad,” Livingston said.
“We have evidence that marijuana use is a good thing in terms of opioid overdoses, but we need to make sure the overall health impact is a positive thing. If we save a hundred lives from opioid overdoses but we lose 1,000 lives in car crashes because of marijuana, we have not done any good.”