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"Can Marijuana Rescue Coal Country?" - Mark Lynn Ferguson

  • The Washington Post
  • New York, NY
  • (August 10, 2017)

Marijuana has been overshadowed by opioids, which are devastating parts of coal country. In Mingo county, a single pharmacy pumped out nine million hydrocodone pill over just two years, according to a 2016 investigation. That was enough for every man, woman, and child in the area to have 350 of them. While there are no easy answers to the opioid crisis, a growing body of research suggests that legalizing marijuana could help. More than a dozen states with legal medical marijuana have recorded significant drops in overdose deaths from other drugs, including heroin. A 2015 pilot study by Yasmin Hurd, PhD, professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, pharmacology, and systems therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, chair of the Ward-Coleman Translational Neuroscience and director of the center for addictive disorders at the Mount Sinai Health System, found that cannabidiol, a compound in marijuana, minimized cravings for opioids, making it easier for participants to stop using them. And unlike methadone, an opioid that is used in drug treatment to minimize cravings for opioids, cannabidiol was not addictive.

- Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chair, Ward-Coleman Translational Neuroscience, Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders, Mount Sinai Health System

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