Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?

July, 2015

“Overall we find strong consistent evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries lead to reductions in opioid-related mortality.”

Abstract

“Many medical marijuana patients report using marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from musculoskeletal problems and other sources. If marijuana is used as a substitute for powerful and addictive pain relievers in medical marijuana states, a potential overlooked positive impact of medical marijuana laws may be a reduction in harms associated with opioid pain relievers, a far more addictive and potentially deadly substance…”

This was a review of the literature in 2015 from the National Bureau of Economic Research by a grant from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse. The study found a reduction in substance abuse of 15.6%, a 35% reduction in substance abuse treatment admissions, and a 31% reduction in opioid overdoses.

This study validates the previously published JAMA article but shows even greater benefit, likely because they identified not only states with medical marijuana laws but also with operating dispensaries. They identified that the greater benefit is seen when the dispensaries were operating and accessible.

External Links

National Bureau of Economic Research Abstract:

Powell, D., Pacula, R. L., & Jacobson, M. (2015). Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers? National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w21345

PDF Download:

Powell, D., Pacula, R., & Jacobson, M. (2015). Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers? Retrieved from https://works.bepress.com/david_powell/17/

 

 

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