With the opioid crisis that has been spreading across the country, some officials are starting to get desperate as they see more and more of their constituents die from overdosing on drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, heroin, and other opiate-based substances. For those who get truly desperate, they might want to consider legalizing marijuana.

As counter-intuitive as that might sound, a recent study has shown that whenever a state or area decriminalizes medical marijuana, the number of people who get prescribed opiates falls by around six percent. This also could be somewhat seen as proof that medical marijuana is actually being used as a means to abate pain instead of users just abusing the system for recreational use under the “medical” banner. Still, despite the effectiveness, that doesn’t mean that you should expect to see marijuana used as treatment at drug rehab centers in NJ anytime soon (or ever). 


Question  Are medical and adult-use marijuana laws passed after 2010 associated with lower rates of opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees?

Findings  In this population-based, cross-sectional study using the all-capture Medicaid prescription data for 2011 to 2016, medical marijuana laws and adult-use marijuana laws were associated with lower opioid prescribing rates (5.88% and 6.38% lower, respectively).

Meaning  Medical and adult-use marijuana laws have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose, and marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic. Click Here to Continue Reading

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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