Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated with Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

Data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggests statewide medical marijuana access reduces opioid-related hospitalizations. A researcher from the University of California at San Diego analyzed medical cannabis laws and opioid-related hospitalizations and found both immediate and long-term reductions in these hospitalizations following the implementation of such laws. The author reported, “This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. … We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year.” The author also stated, “While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations.”

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