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Study Suggests Legal Weed May Reduce Use of Synthetics

A new study suggests that legalized recreational cannabis could be linked to a reduced rate of poisonings from synthetic marijuana.

As reported in Discover Magazine, the study was led by researchers at Washington State University and published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology on August 8th.

Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, has become popular because it is undetectable on drug tests and offers an alternative to natural cannabis in states where marijuana is prohibited. Use of these products has been linked to severe cases of poisoning and even death.

The authors of the study, led by Dr. Tracy Klein, examined data from the National Poison Data System for the years 2016 to 2019.

After reviewing 7,600 cases, they found that only 5.5 percent of synthetic poisoning cases for those years came from states that permit both medical and recreational use of cannabis. Overall, the researchers found that there were 37 percent fewer cases of poisoning from synthetics in markets with permissive cannabis laws than in states that prohibit marijuana entirely.

While further research is important, this study highlights one of the positive public health outcomes linked to more permissive cannabis laws.

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