Study: Medical Marijuana Could Reduce Opioid Use

Sep 21, 2016

Credit US Fish and Wildlife Service

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, medical marijuana laws could be tied to reduced opioid use.

Columbia University researcher June Kim conducted the study using traffic fatality data.  Kim says many states conduct toxicology tests including opioid use after fatal traffic accidents.

“So you kind of have comparable samples, year to year and across states,” Kim says, “so I thought this was a good source to look at my question: whether these laws reduce opioid use.”

The study indicates drivers between the ages of 21 and 40 involved in fatal accidents are about half as likely to have opioids in their system after medical marijuana provisions take effect.   Some states don’t test for marijuana so it’s unclear whether marijuana use is rising as opioid use declines.