Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked to Reduced Opioid Payments, New Study Finds

Medical Marijuana Legalization Reduces Opioid Payments, Reveals Groundbreaking Study

A groundbreaking study has unveiled a strong correlation between the of medical marijuana and a significant decrease in opioid payouts to doctors. This new evidence reinforces the notion that patients are turning to cannabis as a viable alternative to prescription when provided with access. Researchers from the University of , University of Southern California, and Purdue University conducted an in-depth analysis using a unique penalized synthetic control model. Their findings indicate that the availability of medical marijuana acts as a substitute for opioids, resulting in reduced direct payments from opioid manufacturers to pain physicians.

The research team delved into transaction data from 2014 to 2017, focusing on the financial interactions between opioid manufacturers and physicians. By employing their innovative model, they discovered a noteworthy decline in direct payments to physicians following the passage of medical marijuana laws. The study provides compelling evidence that the substitution effect, where patients opt for medical cannabis over opioids, is particularly pronounced among female physicians and in areas with higher white, less affluent, and more working-age populations.

The opioid industry, encompassing manufacturers and prescribing physicians, constitutes a massive global market estimated at $13.9 billion in 2021 alone. These financial relationships often manifest through various forms of interaction, including consulting and speaker fees, conference travel reimbursements, and meal vouchers. The researchers emphasize that one of the primary conduits for such interactions is direct payments from opioid manufacturers to physicians.

This latest study adds to the mounting body of evidence supporting the notion that an increasing number of patients are embracing as a preferable option over prescription opioids when legally available. Earlier this year, another report revealed that the legalization of adult-use cannabis at the state level was associated with a substantial decrease in opioid demand. Drawing from data collected by the Administration (DEA) on prescription opioid shipments, the study found a remarkable 26% reduction in codeine distribution in with legal cannabis.

Furthermore, a recent study published by the American Medical Association (AMA) indicated that approximately one-third of chronic pain patients turn to cannabis as a treatment option. Among this group, the majority reported substituting cannabis for other pain medications, including opioids. Another study conducted by the AMA found a significant decrease in opioid prescriptions and usage among specific cancer patients following the legalization of medical cannabis at the state level.

In September, yet another study demonstrated that providing legal access to medical cannabis enables patients to reduce or even cease their reliance on opioid painkillers without compromising their overall of life. Remarkably, during the same month, a separate study unveiled a striking economic on the pharmaceutical industry following marijuana legalization events, with drugmakers suffering an average market loss of nearly $10 billion.

The cumulative findings of these studies underscore the growing understanding that medical marijuana serves as a valuable substitute for opioids. As more research continues to shed light on this relationship, it becomes increasingly crucial to consider the potential benefits and explore policies that facilitate safe access to medical cannabis for patients in need.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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