New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie was appointed in March as the Head of the Opioid Commission by President Donald Trump. Recently, a report was written to Trump by Christie regarding the nation’s opioid crisis, but it also incorporated the “dangers” of marijuana.
The legalization of marijuana is a hard sale for the Commission, as quoted by Christie due to the “lack of sophisticated outcome data” about marijuana being the primary reason as well as the “lack of data” regarding dosing and the potential for abuse and dependency.
In the report, Christie cited a specific study conducted by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse which concentrates on the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug. Christie stated that the study “found that marijuana use led to a 2 1/2 times greater chance that the marijuana user would become an opioid user and abuser.” In which he added, “The Commission found this very disturbing”.
The statistic used cited about marijuana users having increased odds of becoming addictive to opioids is over a decade old. Dr. Mark Olfson, the study’s leader, performed the study more recently and he acknowledged that it has shown significantly different results.
Christie isn’t known for being the most truthful man in politics which can indicate that his report may be a tad misleading. There isn’t an absence of data regarding its potential for abuse, instead there is an immense amount of studies indicating marijuana does not possess addictive properties. A recent study has proven that marijuana usage does not alter the brain’s structure in a negative way as alcohol does. Even Dr. Oz has said that marijuana was an exit drug rather than a gateway drug.
The fact that the Commission is using ancient research data is a red flag in its own, but why not explore all avenues against the war on opioids?