Two papers published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down.
That indicates that some people may be shifting away from prescription drugs to cannabis, though the studies can’t say whether this substitution is actually happening or if patients or doctors are the driving force.
…Previous research has pointed to a similar correlation. A 2014 paper found that states with medical marijuana laws had nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses.
…One of the two new studies found that people on Medicare filled 14 percent fewer prescriptions for opioids after medical marijuana laws were passed in their states. The second study found that Medicaid enrollees filled nearly 40 fewer opioid prescriptions per 1,000 people each year after their state passed any law making cannabis accessible—with greater drops seen in states that legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.