Medical marijuana associated with reduced opioid prescriptions, study finds

New research suggests further evidence that cannabis use is linked to a reduction in opioid use.

In a study recently published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, researchers from UC San Diego and Weill Cornell Medical College found that “statewide medical cannabis legalization implemented in 1993-2014 in the US was associated with close to 30 percent reductions in Schedule III opioids received by Medicaid enrollees.”

Researchers analyzed state‐level opioid prescription records from 1993‐2014 Medicaid State Drug Utilization Data to reach their conclusion. They also found that “medical cannabis legalization was associated with a 29.6% reduction in number of prescriptions, 29.9% reduction in dosage, and 28.8% reduction in related Medicaid spending.”

“If all the states had legalized medical cannabis by 2014, Medicaid annual spending on opioid prescriptions would be reduced by 17.8 million dollars,” the study projects.

The study’s authors concluded that cannabis is a better alternative to Schedule III opioids, although more research must be made in correlation to stronger prescription painkillers…

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