“Research shows that marijuana has been used as a form of self-treatment, where users take cannabis in lieu of alcohol, prescription opiates, and illegal drugs. That’s one reason why researchers are calling for marijuana to be tested as a substitute for other drugs. In this capacity, marijuana can be thought of as a form of harm reduction. While researchers don’t seek to discount some of the drug’s potential negative effects, they view it as a less damaging alternative to other, harder drugs. Despite these findings, marijuana is rarely incorporated in formal drug treatment plans.
A recent study [Bachhuber, Marcus A., et al. “Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the United States, 1999-2010.” JAMA internal medicine 174.10 (2014): 1668-1673.] might change this policy. Comparing states with and without legalized medical marijuana, it found a substantial decrease in opioid (heroin and prescription pill) overdose death rates in states that had enacted medical marijuana laws. In their conclusions, the researchers suggested that medical marijuana should be part of policy aimed to prevent opioid overdose…”
Boeri, Miriam. “Legalized Marijuana Might Be the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Heroin Addicts.” Quartz. Quartz, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Jan. 2015.