Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Lower Opioid Prescription Rates

According to a new study published by the journal Preventive Medicine, medical marijuana legalization is associated with reduced opioid prescription rates.

The study, titled “Association between cannabis laws and opioid prescriptions among privately insured adults in the US,” analyzed how different cannabis laws influenced the rate of opioid prescriptions among adults from different age groups in 2016.

According to High Times, who first reported on the study, researchers examined the relationships between a few different variables. First, age, breaking it up into five groups, 18-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, and 56-64 years. Second, changes in state cannabis law, whether decriminalization, medical legalization, or adult-use legalization. And third, the pattern and rate of opioid prescriptions, broken down into greater than 30-day and greater than 90-day prescriptions.

Examining how those three variables interact with each other, researchers made some important findings. Overall, they noticed “a significant interaction between age and cannabis law on opioid prescriptions.” But those interactions changed depending on age and the type of cannabis law.

For the oldest age group, 56-64, researchers found no significant interactions between age, marijuana law and opioid prescriptions. But for everyone else aged 18-55, researchers say the interactions were significant. According to their results, those age groups

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