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Senator Elizabeth Warren Asks For Study Into Cannabis As Painkiller

Update Date: Feb 16, 2016 10:36 AM EST

Sen. Elizabeth Warren points out that every year, thousands die due opioid painkillers and heroin. Last year, there were more than 47,000 Americans who passed away due to these painkillers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Hence, she came up with a solution, asking the CDC to study "the use, uptake, and effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal," reports HNGN.

"Our country is faced with an opioid epidemic that only continues to grow at an alarming pace. Opioid abuse is a national concern and warrants swift an immediate action," Warren wrote in a letter to CDC head Thomas Frieden.

Even as federal law still rules that medical marijuana is illegal, there is a contrary rule in 23 states, including Massachusetts, plus Washington, D.C., that permit the plant to be used for medical purposes. It can even be used recreationally in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska.

In her letter, Warren asked the CDC to probe into "the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths."

However in a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, there is "moderate-quality evidence" for medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and muscle stiffness in patients of multiple sclerosis. There is also "low-quality evidence" of the plant healing nausea and vomiting with chemotherapy, weight gain due to HIV infection, sleep disorders or Tourette's syndrome.

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