As medical marijuana was introduced to a number of new states over the past decade, the number of filled opioid prescriptions dropped significantly. Those are the findings in a new study by W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia.
The study, published on Monday and first reported on by NPR, found that many people use medical marijuana to treat pain instead of addictive opioids. It is impossible for researchers to declare that the introduction of medical marijuana directly causes a decline in prescription opioid use, but they do say there is a clear trend of medical marijuana easing the number of opioid prescriptions.
The study’s findings concluded that, from a longitudinal study conducted from 2010 to 2015, “prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year from an average of 23 million daily doses per year when a state instituted any medical cannabis law.” Opioid prescriptions dropped another 3.7 million daily doses once a state opened medical marijuana dispensaries.
Medical marijuana was initially approved by Massachusetts voters in 2012. The number of opioid medications