Research News

Opioid prescriptions decreased in US states where marijuana was legally accessible

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1514 (Published 04 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1514
  1. Owen Dyer

American states that permitted legal access to marijuana through medical cannabis laws or legalized its adult recreational use saw falls in opioid prescriptions over a five year period, research has found.

Researchers from the University of Georgia conducted longitudinal analysis of Medicare Part D records from 2010 to 2015. Their findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine,1 showed a significant 14.4% average reduction in opioid prescriptions in states that allowed medical marijuana dispensaries. The effect was particularly pronounced in hydrocodone and morphine use.

The average state dispensed 23.08 million daily doses of any opioid each year, approximately half being hydrocodone. Permitting access to …

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