The U.S. has come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness. Thirty states — most recently, West Virginia — and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. And polls suggest more Americans than ever — 61 percent — want marijuana legalized nationwide.
While debate continues over marijuana’s health benefits versus its risks, recent studies have placed cannabis squarely in the middle of the conversation over what has been called “the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.” And this time, some researchers say, marijuana might be a part of the solution.
As countless news reports have said, abuse of opioids — including prescription opioids, heroin and illegally manufactured fentanyl — is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 90 people die every day from opioid overdose, and 16,000 a