Research finds reduction in doctor-prescribed opioid use in cannabis-legal states

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As states embrace marijuana for its health benefits, reliance on opioids is disappearing

After seeing how Texas is looking to join the trend, a new study claims that states with legal cannabis tend to show a significant reduction in opioid prescribing by physicians. The legalization of medical marijuana not only helps patients find the right solution to their conditions but also provides a safer way to get a solution without having to suffer the unpleasant side effects of opioids, which can be quite dangerous due to their high addiction rate.

According to the study, there is a strong correlation between the legalization of medical cannabis at the state level and the reduction of opioid payments to physicians. Data like this demonstrates loud and clear that patients use cannabis as an alternative to prescription drugs when given regulated and legal access.

Purdue University, the University of Florida and the University of Southern California shared their researchers to conduct the study that identified “a significant decrease in direct payments from opioid manufacturers to painkiller physicians as an effect of the passage [of the medical marijuana law].” In addition, there was evidence that physicians working in states where medical marijuana is legal would prefer to stop prescribing opioids and recommend safer options such as those offered by the plant.

In order to carry out this research, the experts developed a “new penalized synthetic control model.” In doing so, they analyzed transaction data involving direct payments from opioid manufacturers to physicians from 2014 to 2017.

It was clear that a causal impact occurred as the legalization of medical cannabis progressed. The research shared evidence that makes clear the decline in payments from opioid manufacturers due to “the availability of medical marijuana as a substitute.”

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