18 Jul Do New Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Opioid Prescriptions?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School Of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Prior studies have suggested t6hat medical marijuana legalization might play a role in decreasing opioid use.
We aimed to test this hypothesis using individual level data on nonmedical use of prescription opioids and opioid use disorder from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: When comparing the overall effect of use after versus before medical marijuana laws were passed, we found small increases in nonmedical use of prescription opioids and slight decreases or no change in prescription opioid use disorder among nonmedical users of prescription opioids—even for states that allowed dispensaries.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our findings may suggest that medical marijuana policies could be insufficient to reduce individual-level opioid outcomes and that opioid-specific approaches and policy interventions such as prescription drug monitoring programs, and laws on prescribing practices are needed.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Further research should disentangle the potential mechanisms through which living in a MML state may be associated with reduced opioid-related harm. Future studies need to study if there is any relationship between recreational marijuana laws and opioid-related harm outcomes as well as different variations within medical laws.
The study was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA039804A, DA045224, DA037866).
Segura LE, Mauro CM, Levy NS, et al. Association of US Medical Marijuana Laws With Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use and Prescription Opioid Use Disorder. JAMA Netw Open. Published online July 17, 20192(7):e197216. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7216
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