The enactment of statewide marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in the number of opioids prescribed and filled, according to a pair of studies published online Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
In the first study, investigators from the University of Kentucky and Emory University assessed the relationship between medical and adult-use marijuana laws and opioid prescribing patterns among Medicaid enrollees nationwide. Enrollees included all Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care enrollees – a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose.
Researchers reported that the enactment of both medicalization and adult-use laws were both associated with reductions in opioid prescribing rates, with broader legalization policies associated with the greatest rates of decline.
“State implementation of medical marijuana laws was associated with a 5.88 percent lower rate of opioid prescribing. Moreover, the implementation of adult-use marijuana laws, which all occurred in states with existing medical marijuana laws, was associated with a 6.38 percent lower rate of opioid prescribing,” they concluded. “[T]he further reductions in opioid prescribing associated with the newly implemented adult-use marijuana laws suggest that there were individuals beyond