87% of 473 adult therapeutic cannabis users surveyed by the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia gave up prescription drugs, alcohol, and illicit substances in favor of cannabis. In addition, 80% of respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs, 52% substituted cannabis for alcohol and 32% substituted it for illicit substances. Patients under 40 years of age were found to substitute cannabis for all three classes of substances.
— Michael Smith (@GoodSmith69) January 8, 2016
The finding that cannabis was substituted for all three classes of substances suggests that the medical use of cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the context of use of these substances, and may have implications for abstinence-based substance use treatment approaches. Further research should seek to differentiate between biomedical substitution for prescription pharmaceuticals and psychoactive drug substitution, and to elucidate the mechanisms behind both.
2015 Deaths: Alcohol. 30,000 Prescription drugs 21,000 Opiates 17,000 Cannabis 0
— That Guy (@KyleIsaccDawes) January 6, 2016
According to the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, drug overdose, mostly from painkillers and heroin, is now the leading cause of fatal injuries in the US—surpassing firearms and motor vehicle accidents. Prescription opioids and heroin overdoses constitute two of the top drugs people overdose on not just in the United States, but across the world.