Could Cannabis be the Savior for America's Opioid Epidemic?

Earlier this year, Jeff Session's stated that marijuana "was only slightly less awful than heroin", causing an uproar of pushback from the public. Thanks to, Sessions' statement was labeled dubious, as we all knew it would be. 

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The chart above shows the number of deaths per year caused by opioid use. Nearly 13,000 people died of heroin overdose in 2015 alone. But if that's not enough to convince you, in 2005, it was estimated that 3 heroin users would overdose for every 100,000 people. By 2015, over 10 heroin users would overdose for every 100,000 people. It is clear that these numbers are a significant indication of a drug that can be very dangerous. Compared to marijuana, which has had no deaths as a result of a marijuana overdose. 

Recently, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio stated that he did not believe that marijuana use could help Ohio's heroin epidemic. But according to Dr. Dustin Sulak, a Maine osteopathic physician who prescribes medical marijuana to his patients, over half of his patients have stopped using opioids after they started using cannabis. Sulak continued to state that, most of his patients formally "got prescribed [opioids] by their doctors for pain". They then started to realize that they were becoming heavily addicted and realized they had to stop, and that's when they went in search of Dr. Sulak. 

Many states are in fact, doing the opposite of Kasich, with Maryland legislators proposing a bill to use marijuana as a treatment for heroin addiction. Early estimates have declared that 2,000 deaths occurred last year in Maryland due to heroin, causing legislators to present the bill. The bill, if passed, would allow for doctors to prescribe marijuana to heroin addicts as a way to cope with withdrawal and treatment. 

Since marijuana has not been legalized in many states for a long enough time period to research, it is important to note that research needs to be heavily conducted in order to justify the use of marijuana as a treatment for heroin addiction. But there is one thing that we know for sure, heroin is a much deadlier and more dangerous drug than marijuana