Jeff Sessions challenged the idea that marijuana could help treat opioid addiction.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been making a habit of discussing marijuana this week. If you are a marijuana patient, a member of the industry, or just a believer in science, it could be a bad habit.
Earlier this week, Sessions told reporters that marijuana is linked to violence “more than one would think.” Yesterday, Sessions launched another attack on marijuana, this time possibly challenging its medical efficacy.
“I see a line in the Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just — almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong,” Sessions said.
Patients who rely on marijuana to provide them with an improved quality of life may not feel confident that the acting U.S. Attorney General seems to be unfamiliar with the science of their medicine. Some on Twitter tried to help Sessions access this information.
NEW: Jeff Sessions wants to know what the science says on marijuana and opiates. We put it all in one place for him. https://t.co/obv5LKsq33
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) February 28, 2017
Sessions’ statement calls into question how serious he is taking the opioid epidemic. Opiate-based medication is typically prescribed to relieve chronic pain. But unfortunately, patients can develop an extreme dependency on these types of medications. Approximately 33,000 deaths were linked to opioid use in 2015.
States that have legalized marijuana have witnessed a connection between marijuana and opioid use, but not necessarily the one Sessions would predict. According to a study by Jama Internal Medicine, states that have legalized medical marijuana experience a decrease of opioid-related deaths. The study analyzed data from 1999 through 2010 and noted a 25-percent reduction in these deaths.
There has been some encouraging research on marijuana actually helping to fight opioid addiction. Sessions should have more curiosity about what researchers are finding. His scienceless approach eerily mirrors the tone of the War on Drugs.