From Opioids to Marijuana: Out of the Tunnel and into the Fog.

16 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018 Last revised: 5 Apr 2019

See all articles by James G. Hodge

James G. Hodge

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Walter G. Johnson

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students

Drew Hensley

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students

Date Written: September 25, 2018

Abstract

After more than two decades of escalating morbidity and mortality stemming from the opioid epidemic in the United States, early signs suggest that specific mitigating interventions are taking hold to lessen deleterious public health impacts. Still, treating pain remains the original genesis for considerable opioid uptake in the U.S. A primary alternative to opioidsis emerging: marijuana. Like opioids, marijuana and its varied derivatives have grown exponentially. Even though federal authorities still disapprove the drug for any purpose, 30 states now allow medical marijuana for a range of conditions, including palliative care despite thin proof of efficacy for treating many conditions. Critical issues of public health law and policy arise from the displacement of opioid drugs in favor of medical marijuana. While these two classes of drugs are similarly intended to manage pain, their legality and public health impacts are highly divergent and subject to public misperceptions of their safety and effective use. Promoting marijuana over opioids is risky given substantial uncertainties over short- and long-term impacts of its widespread use. Even as the nation slowly exits the long tunnel of the opioid crises, it may be heading into a fog of extensive, additional public health repercussions.

Keywords: marijuana, opioids, pain, epidemic, treatment, chronic, law, policy

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G. and Johnson, Walter G. and Hensley, Drew, From Opioids to Marijuana: Out of the Tunnel and into the Fog. (September 25, 2018). Kansas Law Review, 2018, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3255094 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3255094

James G. Hodge (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
111 E. Taylor Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States
480-727-8576 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.asu.edu/degree-programs/public-health-law-policy

Walter G. Johnson

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ
United States

Drew Hensley

Arizona State University (ASU), Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Students ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ
United States

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