Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Few Opioid Deaths, But Only in States With Dispensaries

A new study conducted by the RAND Corporation and published by the Journal of Health Economics has found that although medical marijuana legalization is associated with a decrease in opioid deaths, this is only true in states that have legalized dispensaries.

“The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths — identified previously in several studies — is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve”, says the Rand Corporation, whose new study is “the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date”.

The report found that “legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients.” Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.

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Study: Patients with Access to Medical Marijuana Reduce their Use of Opioids

By NORML

Patients registered to use medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

Opioids

Investigators assessed the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month period among patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program compared to similar patients who were not.

They reported that subjects with access to medical cannabis reduced their use of opioids by 31 percent while those not in the program experienced a slight increase in opioid use over this same time period.

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Study: Majority of Medical Cannabis Patients Use Cannabis to Replace Prescription Drugs

A new study published by the International Journal of Drug Policy has found that a majority of medical cannabis patients are using cannabis in replace of dangerous prescription drugs, mainly opioids.

For the study; “Patients registered to purchase cannabis from Tilray, a federally authorized Licenced Producer (LP) within the MMPR [the law that allows medical cannabis on the federal level in Canada], were invited to complete an online survey consisting of 107 questions on demographics, patterns of use, and cannabis substitution effect. The survey was completed by 271 respondents.”

According to the study; “Cannabis is perceived to be an effective treatment for diverse conditions, with pain and mental health the most prominent.” It was found that 63% of the study’s participants use cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, “particularly pharmaceutical opioids (30%), benzodiazepines (16%), and antidepressants (12%).”

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