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In the first study, Hefei Wen of the University of Kentucky and Jason Hockenberry of Emory University found that the passage of medical and recreational marijuana laws were followed by reductions in Medicaid opiate prescription rates of 5.88 percent and 6.38 percent, respectively.

There is widespread agreement among doctors and public health experts that marijuana is effective at treating chronic pain.

Studies show that cannabinoids - chemical components in Cannabis plants - can be effective in alleviating some kinds of pain, and "a mountain of anecdotal evidence from patients" suggests that some who turn to medical marijuana for chronic pain end up needing fewer opioids, said Dr. Kevin Hill, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who was not involved with the studies.

Neither study proves that legalising marijuana causes a decline in opioid prescriptions. In Prescription Nation, a digest analyzing how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, the Council assigned its highest mark of "Improving" to Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, DC, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.

Researchers say this indicates patients might be using marijuana to manage their pain instead of opioids. "The potential for marijuana policies to reduce the use of addictive opioids deserves consideration, especially in states that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic". "Papers like these two suggest that cannabis may play a role". Initial prescriptions for more than seven days of immediate-release opioids will be automatically rejected at the pharmacy.

The two studies were published online April 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In Ohio, only one of the six actions hasn't been met- implementing a data sharing database which would allow prescribers, law enforcement, and more to share information about crimes associated with opioid misuse and more.

One looked at trends in opioid prescribing under Medicaid, which covers low-income adults, between 2011 and 2016. The study has revealed that medical marijuana can lead to lower levels of opioid deaths, which has been identified in studies many times before.

At this point, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing some form of marijuana use, including eight states that have legalized recreational use. In February, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills reported 418 drug overdose deaths in the state in 2017, an 11 percent rise over 2016 - when deaths surged 40 percent over 2015. Hill wrote an editorial that accompanied the two articles.

There are a number of non-opioid alternatives to help relieve pain that patients can ask for. The findings in Medicaid and Medicare patients may not apply to other people. The fast-growing opioid crisis is more relevant than HIV/AIDS today and needs more funding to educate people and provide more treatment facilities.