Medical marijuana laws have provided patients with an alternative to opioids for conditions as varied as chronic pain and PTSD. Given the severity of America’s opioid epidemic, researchers have increasingly studied the impact of medical marijuana laws on opioid prescription rates, hospitalizations, and deaths. Overall, researchers have identified strong associations between the passage of medical marijuana laws and declines in opioid prescribing as well as opioid-related hospitalizations and deaths. According to a study published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, “prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year…when a state instituted any medical cannabis law” and “prescriptions for all opioids decreased by 3.742 million daily doses per year when medical cannabis dispensaries opened.”
Source: Bradford, Ashley C., et al. “Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population.” JAMA Intern Med., vol. 178, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 667–672.