Investigators reported, “Contrary to concerns about spillover effects, implementation of legalized non-medical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse.”
Sixty-one percent of respondents said that they “replaced” prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines with medical cannabis – a finding that is consistent with several other studies.
“[T]he implementation of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) and recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) reduced morphine milligram equivalents per enrollee by seven percent and 13 percent, respectively.”
“We found that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington did not result in an increase in SUD [substance use disorder] treatment admissions for cocaine, opioids, or methamphetamines among adolescents or emerging adults.”
“Increased medical and recreational storefront dispensary counts are associated with reduced opioid related mortality rates during the study period. These associations appear particularly strong for deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.”
“The findings of this study add to the growing body of evidence that easier access to cannabis for patients with pain may reduce opioid use and partially offset expenditures for both public and private drug plans.”
“Over time, individuals who continued consuming cannabis within this longitudinal study reported lower pain severity and pain interference scores, as well as improved quality of life and general health symptoms scores.”