President Donald Trump has made combating America's opioid issues a priority for his administration. And yet despite his passion for the topic, the agency he created to help solve it refuses to consider one of the best answers available: marijuana.
Trump's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has refused to acknowledge any positive effects of marijuana and won't even consider it as a solution for the problems it's dealing with. Despite thousands of people sending literature to the commission about how marijuana can reduce opioid abuse, the commission's official stance on cannabis is that the drug “is associated with higher rates of opioid-abuse disorder and prescription drug misuse.”
Of course, this is fundamentally untrue. A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found no relation between increased marijuana use and increased opioid use. In fact, the overwhelming evidence suggests that states with legalized marijuana have decreased rates of opioid abuse. Just last week a study found that opioid overdoses in Colorado decreased dramatically after the state legalized cannabis. The same has been found in states with legalized medical marijuana. And it's not just overdose deaths either. Other studies found that the admission rates of opioid patients into treatment facilities as well as prescription drug related traffic incidents all went down in states with medical marijuana. It's not even just opioids that are affected by medical marijuana. Research says patients cut back on all forms of prescription medicines in states with legalized medical marijuana.
So while the Trump administration says it wants to combat the opioid crisis, it doesn't seem open to allowing one of the biggest tools that can help do so. Instead they will probably rely on the same old method of educating people why drugs are bad and hope that works out.
Luckily 29 states have legalized medical marijuana with more on the way. So even if the Trump administration doesn't want to do what is necessary, maybe the states themselves will.
(h/t The Hill)