- Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers?
Recent work finds that medical marijuana laws reduce the daily doses filled for opioid analgesics among Medicare Part-D and Medicaid enrollees, as well as population-wide opioid overdose deaths. We replicate the result for opioid overdose deaths and explore the potential mechanism. The key feature of a medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose death rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries. As states have become more stringent in their regulation of dispensaries, the protective value generally has fallen. These findings suggest that broader access to medical marijuana facilitates substitution of marijuana for powerful and addictive opioids.
- The relationship between medical marijuana laws and reductions in opioid overdoses is complex.
- Medical marijuana laws vary in their effect on reducing opioid overdoses.
- States with medical marijuana dispensaries experienced reductions in opioid-related overdoses.
- As states have become more stringent in regulating dispensaries, the protective value of medical marijuana laws generally has fallen.
- These findings suggest that broader access to medical marijuana facilitates substitution of marijuana for powerful and addictive opioids.
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