There is now countless of information to support the idea that medical cannabis can combat the opioid epidemic and therefore reduce the rate of opioid overdose and fatalities. Now, there is yet another study to support this claim. According to data reported by the employee health benefits platform provider Castlight Health, rates of prescription opioid abuse are significantly lower in areas that have permitted access to medical marijuana.
Investigators analyzed anonymous prescription reporting data from over one million employees between 2011 and 2015, and found that within states that did not legalize medical marijuana, 5.4% of those who had opioid prescription also qualified as an abuser of the drug, meaning they did not receive palliative care, received greater than a 90-day supply of medications, and had a prescription from four or more providers. In states that legalized medical marijuana, only 2.8% of those who had a prescriptions qualified as opioid abusers.