People seek out a weed lawyer in Omaha for all sorts of reasons, but what might be quite surprising to those outside the field is that those arrested for drug charges are surprisingly “average” people. Particularly when it comes to substances like opiates and marijuana, those who are charged don’t typically fit the mold for the “hardened criminal” most expect. They’re your neighbor, your co-worker, your family member, or your child’s teacher. As the “War on Drugs” continues to crumble, a new face is emerging, and with it, we’re learning how to better help those who struggle with substances.
The Nation is Facing an “Opioid Epidemic”
Everywhere you look in the news these days, there’s a new startling statistic regarding the opiate crisis. One-fifths of young adult deaths now involve opioids. Back in 2001, this group made up just 4% of deaths. Overall, 64,000 lives are claimed in the US every year due to opioid overdose—more than 175 deaths per day. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that two-in-three accidental opioid deaths is caused by a prescription medication as opposed to a street drug.
Researchers Used Medicare and Medicaid Data to Explore Links
The government has made data regarding Medicare Part D and Medicaid publicly available. Medicare Part D is optional prescription coverage for people on Medicare. Adults age 65 or older can qualify as well as those who have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for 24 months. Medicaid, on the other hand typically covers low-income families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Researchers used data from these groups and compared states that allow medical marijuana with those that don’t.
Medical Marijuana States Prescribe Fewer Opiates
“This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” says lead author of the Medicare study and professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia David Bradford. His Medicare Part D data showed that states which allow medical marijuana have 2.21 million fewer daily doses of prescribed opiates. Medicaid, on the other hand, showed a 5.8% reduction in prescriptions as well.
“All drugs of abuse operate using some shared pathways,” says Dr. Kevin Hill, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and addiction psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “For example, cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors coincidentally happen to be located very close by in many places in the brain. So it stands to reason that a medication that affects one system might affect the other.” Of course, the difference with medical marijuana is that it’s generally not addictive and people are seeing pain relief with it. “No one has ever died of cannabis,” Bradford adds. “So it has many safety advantages over opiates, and to the extent that we’re trying to manage the opiate crisis, cannabis is a potential tool.”
Marijuana Shows Potential to Curb Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
In addition to reduced opiate use, studies show marijuana can be useful for those already in the throws of opiate addiction and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Researchers looked into how people felt before starting methadone treatment (a prescribed medication to help opiate addicts recover) as well as how they felt while on methadone. Marijuana came through in helping people with withdrawal symptoms such as cramps, anxiety, and insomnia. Research in the early stages being conducted on rats also shows promise. They gave the rats alcohol and cocaine and then offered some CBD gel. Those who got the gel were less likely to seek out drugs, showed fewer signs of stress, and were less likely to relapse. This is important to note because rats often behave like humans when it comes to addictive substances. Even though research is still being conducted, it’s clear cannabis could radically diminish the opioid epidemic; first by reducing the number of addicts to begin with, as fewer use opioids when medical marijuana is available, and secondly by helping addicts get off opioids when they do succumb.
Retain a Weed Lawyer in Omaha
Marijuana remains illegal in Nebraska. If you’re caught with it, no matter the cause or reason, you can face charges and serious consequences. To get the help of an experienced weed lawyer in Omaha, call Daniel Stockmann. With nearly two decades of experience and a track record for success, Mr. Stockmann follows every possible avenue to ensure his clients can get back to their lives as quickly as possible following an arrest. For a free case evaluation, call (844) 906-0641.