Talking with my physician

There are those who continue to insist that marijuana is a gateway to stronger drugs. Some law enforcement agencies still focus on marijuana, while opiates are largely ignored.  As cannabis legalization expands across the country, researchers continue to explore the potential of cannabinoid therapy. Recent studies indicate that cannabis may prove very helpful against a wide variety of addictions. Over 21 million Americans are currently affected by addiction.  Addiction to alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs costs the public approximately $800 billion dollars every year. The number of accidental deaths by overdose has tripled in the last fifteen years. Although many argue that replacing dependence on one substance for another is not an effective treatment, addiction to marijuana is extremely rare. This natural substance is far less addictive than cigarettes or many other legal substances. According to the DEA, no one has ever died from marijuana overdose. Cannabinoid therapy offers the potential of lowering rates of addiction and overdose. Legalizing cannabis has already reduced the number of overdose deaths. In 2014, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, those states offering legal cannabis had nearly 25% fewer opioid overdose-related deaths.  There was also a decline in the number of prescriptions filled to treat depression, psychosis, anxiety, seizures, nausea, sleep disorders and spasticity. Medical marijuana has already saved the Medicare program millions of dollars. Legalizing marijuana nationwide offers a potential savings of approximately $470 million. While the cost savings is definitely a benefit, the legalization of marijuana is saving lives. There is new hope for millions of people suffering from addiction and their families.

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