Recreational Cannabis Legalization and Opioid-Related Deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015.

:American Journal of Public Health Logo

“To examine the association between Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis use and opioid-related deaths.


Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month (b = -0.68; 95% confidence interval = -1.34, -0.03) reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado.


Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis.”

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Cannabis for the Treatment of Chronic Pain in the Era of an Opioid Epidemic: A Symposium-Based Review of Sociomedical Science.

Pain Medicine

“This manuscript reviews medical literature published pertaining to the management of chronic pain with medical marijuana therapy (MMJ), with an emphasis on the social, medical, and legal aspects of therapy.


Increasing interest in MMJ for chronic pain underscores a need for primary care and pain physicians to better understand the indications and evidence for its use free from cultural bias. Given a lack of full conclusive clinical utility, continued research is needed to better understand how to best utilize MMJ therapy for the treatment of chronic pain.”

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Involvement of cannabinoid system in the nucleus accumbens on delay-based decision making in the rat.

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“The nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays a fundamental role in decision making and anticipation of reward. In addition, exogenous cannabinoids affect the behavior of humans and animals including disruption of short-term memory and cognitive impairments. Therefore, in this study, cannabinoid agonist and antagonist were administrated into the NAc to determine the effect of cannabinoid activation in the entire NAc on delay-based decision making. Rats were trained on a cost-benefit T-maze decision making task in which the animals were well-trained to choose between a small/immediate reward and a large/delay reward. After training, the animals were implanted with guide cannulae in the NAc. On test day, they received cannabinoid agonist (Win 55,212-2; 10, 50 and 100μM) and/or antagonist (AM251; 45μM) into the NAc. Percentage of high reward choice and latency of reward achievement were evaluated. Results showed that cannabinoid agonist administration caused a decrease in high reward choice such that rats selected small/immediate reward instead of large/delay reward. Moreover, in agonist-treated animals latency of reward achievement increased. Effects of cannabinoid activation on delay-based decision making with equivalent delays demonstrated that if the delay was equated on both arm goals, animals still had a preference for the high/delay reward, showing the results was not caused by an impairment of spatial preference or memory. These finding clarified that cannabinoid system activation in the entire NAc plays a critical role in the regulation of delay-based decision making.”

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Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?


“Many medical marijuana patients report using marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from musculoskeletal problems and other sources. If marijuana is used as a substitute for powerful and addictive pain relievers in medical marijuana states, a potential overlooked positive impact of medical marijuana laws may be a reduction in harms associated with opioid pain relievers, a far more addictive and potentially deadly substance. To assess this issue, we study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. We use two measures of problematic use: treatment admissions for opioid pain reliever addiction from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and state-level opioid overdose deaths in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). Using both standard differences-in-differences models as well as synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not. We find no impact of medical marijuana laws more broadly; the mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries. We evaluate potential mechanisms. Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.”

“Cannabis use is associated with a substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States. These data suggest that Cannabis use may decrease premature deaths. Overall, prohibition is estimated to lead to similar numbers of premature deaths as drunk driving, homicide, or fatal opioid overdose. Cannabis use prevents thousands of premature deaths each year, and Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.”

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The Use of Cannabis in Response to the Opioid Crisis: A Review of the Literature

Nursing Outlook

“A staggering number of Americans are dying from overdoses attributed to prescription opioid medications (POMs). In response, states are creating policies related to POM harm reduction strategies, overdose prevention, and alternative therapies for pain management, such as cannabis (medical marijuana).

The purpose of this article is to examine state medical cannabis (MC) use laws and policies and their potential association with POM use and related harms.

Review of the current literature suggests states that implement MC policies could reduce POM associated mortality, improve pain management, and significantly reduce health care costs.

However, MC research is constrained by federal policy restrictions, and more research related to MC as a potential alternative to POM for pain management, MC harms, and its impact on POM related harms and healthcare costs should be a priority of public health, medical, and nursing research.”

“The use of cannabis in response to the opioid crisis: A review of the literature. Review of the current literature suggests states that implement MC policies could reduce POM-associated mortality, improve pain management, and significantly reduce health care costs.”

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Can Cannabis be Considered a Substitute Medication for Alcohol?

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“Substituting cannabis for alcohol may reduce drinking and related problems among alcohol-dependent individuals. Some even recommend prescribing medical cannabis to individuals attempting to reduce drinking.

While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD, cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol. Perhaps more importantly, cannabis is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol.”

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Preferences for Medical Marijuana over Prescription Medications Among Persons Living with Chronic Conditions: Alternative, Complementary, and Tapering Uses.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“Despite expanded legalization and utilization of medical cannabis (MC) internationally, there is a lack of patient-centered data on how MC is used by persons living with chronic conditions in tandem with or instead of prescription medications. This study describes approaches to use of MC vis-à-vis prescription medications in the treatment of selected chronic conditions.


Participants described a range of approaches to using MC, including (1) as alternatives to using prescription or over-the-counter medications; (2) complementary use with prescription medications; and (3) as a means for tapering off prescription medications. Motives reported for reducing or eliminating prescription medications included concerns regarding toxicity, dependence, and tolerance, and perceptions that MC improves management of certain symptoms and has quicker action and longer lasting effects.


MC appears to serve as both a complementary method for symptom management and treatment of medication side-effects associated with certain chronic conditions, and as an alternative method for treatment of pain, seizures, and inflammation in this population. Additional patient-centered research is needed to identify specific dosing patterns of MC products associated with symptom alleviation and produce longitudinal data assessing chronic disease outcomes with MC use.”

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Maternal and infant outcomes following third trimester exposure to marijuana in opioid dependent pregnant women maintained on buprenorphine.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence Home

“Analyses failed to support any significant relationship between marijuana use in the third trimester and a variety of maternal and infant outcomes.

Preliminary results indicate that marijuana exposure in the third trimester does not complicate the pregnancy or the delivery process.”

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Endocannabinoid mechanism in amphetamine-type stimulant use disorders: A short review.

Journal of Clinical Neuroscience Home

“Recent evidence shows that the endocannabinoid system is involved in amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) use disorders. To elucidate the role of the endocannabinoid system in ATS addiction, we reviewed results of studies using cannabinoid receptor agonists, antagonists as well as knockout model.

The endocannabinoid system seems to play a role in reinstatement and relapse of ATS addiction and ATS-induced psychiatric symptoms. The molecular mechanisms of this system remains unclear, the association with dopamine system in nucleus accumbens is most likely involved. However, the function of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety and anti-anxiety effects induced by ATS is more complicated.

These findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system may play an important role in the mechanism of ATS addiction and provide new idea for treating ATS addiction.”

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Cannabidiol inhibits priming-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine in REM sleep deprived rats.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Methamphetamine (METH) is a widely abused and a severely addictive psychostimulant. Relapse is the main cause of concern when treating addiction. It could manifest after a long period of abstinence. Previous studies showed that there is a strong connection between sleep impairment and relapse.

Also, it has been reported that cannabidiol might be a potential treatment for drug craving and relapse. In this study, we used conditioned place preference (CPP) to investigate whether Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid, can prevent METH-induced reinstatement in Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Deprived (RSD) rats.

In conclusion, the administration of CBD 10μg/5μl effectively prevents METH-induced CPP, even in a condition of stress. CBD can be considered an agent that reduces the risk of the relapse; however, this requires more investigation.”

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