The legalization of weed in the US has been much talked about in the past decade. There have been heavy debates on the pros and cons of this move with different states taking their own stands on the issue.

While states like California have decriminalized both recreational and medical usage of weed, several others have been skeptical about legalization as well.

However, states that have legalized the herb have reportedly earned major revenues from its legitimization which are putting them to good use for its citizens.

Due to the fact that recreational weed does have to cause any major health-issues or withdrawal symptoms associated with it, it has also helped many move away from hardcore and synthetic drugs. This also is evident from a recent economic inquiry that claims that access to recreational marijuana in the US over the past decade has drastically brought down the number of opioid deaths in the country.

The study found that post the legalization of weed the annual opioid mortality rate has been drastically reduced within a range of 20–35% in various US states.

Previous studies have also pointed out the fact that the presence of medical weed laws helps reduce opioid death rates, particularly from the synthetic opioid variants.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts also claimed that as recreational weed become more readily available in dispensaries across the US, the number of deaths due to opioids is likely to decrease even further.

The reduced dependency of opioids due to the availability of recreational weed can surely save a lot of American lives as there have been no deaths ever recorded due to weed, and in fact, overdosing too isn’t possible with it.


Over 100 million US citizens suffer from chronic pain according to the AAPM (American Academy of Pain Medicine) and to get relief from the pain, the number of prescriptions for opiate drugs has almost doubled over the past decade.

This increases opiate dependence and addiction in users, often causing fatal opioid overdoses. Studies found that a whopping 75% of deaths related to prescription medicines in the US were due to opiate painkillers.

The legalization of weed is turning out to be a blessing as the opiate-related death count in 13 US states saw a dip of nearly 33% just 6 years after the legalization of weed in the USA.

To conduct this study, researchers looked at medical weed laws and opioid deaths in 50 states from 1999 to 2010.

During the time, only 13 of the states had legalized medical weed and these were the states where there were significantly lower deaths due to opioid overdoses.

Dr. Marcus Bachhuner, the lead author of the study said that they noticed a 25 % lower rate of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers on an average after the implementation of weed laws in these states.

In the year 2010 alone, states which had legalized weed saw about 1,700 lesser opiate overdose deaths than the previous year, which says a lot about the life-saving potential of weed.


In the above paragraphs, we have spoken about how the presence of both medical and recreational weed has helped lower deaths indirectly in patients.

However, cannabis itself has several components having pain-relieving properties according to a study published in the journal of ‘Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics’ in 2011. They are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC)

With over 60% of America’s lethal opioids overdoses occurring among patients having legitimate prescriptions for their medications, weed has a great potential for helping patients decrease their dosages, reducing the likeliness of overdoses or substituting opioid medications altogether.

This would surely save a lot of lives every year and provide patients with a much healthier and risk-free alternative in the times to come.

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