According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ‘nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death.’ Those five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. According to the CDC, 20 to 40 percent of those premature deaths could be prevented. And according to a study from last month conducted by Indiana University, cannabis could play a big part in significantly reducing the number of premature deaths in America if medical cannabis was legalized nationwide. I first saw the study results on Twitter via the Marijuana Moment’s Twitter feed, which I suggest everyone follows.
Per the study:
To date, no studies have attempted to estimate impacts of Cannabis use on premature death that include both adverse and beneficial effects on physical health. Marijuana use is estimated to reduce premature deaths from diabetes mellitus, cancer, and traumatic brain injury by 989 to 2,511 deaths for each 1% of the population using Cannabis. The analysis predicts an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide.
By keeping cannabis prohibited, the study concludes that, ‘Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.’. If there were ever a reason to offer up as to why medical cannabis should be permitted, saving people from premature death is a good one. If you know someone that is on the fence about cannabis reform, make sure to share the results of this study with them.
Just combating opioid use alone is enough of a reason to legalize medical cannabis nationwide. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in America for people under 50. It is estimated that over 59,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2016 alone. Studies have shown that in states that legalized medical cannabis, painkiller abuse and addiction dropped on average of 23 percent and opioid overdose cases at hospitals dropped by an average of 13 percent. Cannabis can help save lives, it just needs to be given a chance to do so.