MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Economist; Core Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
RAND, Santa Monica
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There has been some research suggesting that the adoption of state medical marijuana laws leads to reductions in prescriptions for opioid analgesics among certain populations and opioid-related overdoses overall. However, medical marijuana laws are very different across states and they have changed over time as well. We wanted to understand what components of a medical marijuana law could potentially lead to reductions in overdoses and substance abuse. We focused specifically on the role of dispensaries, given their importance in providing access to medical marijuana, and tested for different effects in states with and without legally-protected and operational dispensaries.
We found that dispensaries are critical to reduce opioid-related overdoses and substance abuse. We also found evidence that more recently-adopting states have experienced smaller reductions in overdoses and opioid substance abuse, potentially because the more recent adopters tend to enforce more stringent guidelines for dispensaries than the early adopters. Continue reading