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, “State implementation of medical marijuana laws was associated with a 5.88% lower rate of opioid prescribing,” and, “the implementation of adult-use marijuana laws…was associated with a 6.38% lower rate of opioid prescribing.”
Source: Wen, Hefei, and Jason M. Hockenberry. “Association of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Laws With Opioid Prescribing for Medicaid Enrollees.” JAMA Intern Med., vol. 178, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 673–679.