The legalization of cannabis in Colorado has reduced opioid-related deaths, according to a new study published by The American Journal of Public Health.
The objective of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Texas School of Public Health, the University of Florida, and Emory University, was to “examine the association between Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis use and opioid-related deaths.” To do this researchers “used an interrupted time-series design (2000-2015) to compare changes in level and slope of monthly opioid-related deaths before and after Colorado stores began selling recreational cannabis.” They also “describe the percent change in opioid-related deaths by comparing the unadjusted model-smoothed number of deaths at the end of follow-up with the number of deaths just prior to legalization.”
According to the study’s abstract; “Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month (b = -0.68; 95% confidence interval = -1.34, -0.03) reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado.”
The study concludes by stating; “Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.