New Study Links Medical Marijuana Legalization to Reduced Opioid Payouts, Offering Alternative to Prescription Drugs

Medical Marijuana Legalization Reduces Opioid Payouts, Emerging as Substitute for Prescription Drugs

A groundbreaking study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida, University of Southern California, and Purdue University reveals a strong link between state-level medical marijuana legalization (MML) and a notable decline in opioid payouts to doctors. The study’s innovative “penalized synthetic control model” analyzed transaction data from 2014 to 2017, specifically focusing on direct payments from opioid manufacturers to physicians. The findings provide compelling evidence that patients, given legal to medical cannabis, are increasingly turning to it as a substitute for prescription opioids.

The study’s results indicate a significant decrease in direct payments from opioid manufacturers to medicine physicians following the passage of medical marijuana . Physicians in with MML were found to prescribe fewer opioids, showcasing the substitution effect of medical cannabis availability. Moreover, the researchers discovered that the substitution effect was more pronounced among female physicians and in localities with higher white populations, lower affluence, and larger working-age populations.

The opioid industry, valued at approximately $13.9 billion globally in 2021, includes both manufacturers and physicians who prescribe these powerful medications. Financial relationships between opioid manufacturers and physicians often involve various forms of interactions and direct payments. These payments can take the form of consulting and speaker , conference travel reimbursements, or meal vouchers, acting as common conduits to engage physicians in regular interactions.

This latest study’s findings further contribute to a growing body of evidence indicating that medical is increasingly preferred by patients as an alternative to prescription opioids. Earlier this year, another report revealed that adult-use cannabis legalization at the state level correlated with reduced opioid demand. This study utilized data from the Drug Administration (DEA) tracking prescription opioid shipments and observed a significant 26% reduction in codeine distribution through retail pharmacies in legal states.

The American Medical Association (AMA) conducted studies that support the notion of medical cannabis substitution for chronic pain patients. One AMA study reported that approximately one-third of chronic pain patients utilize cannabis as a treatment option, often substituting it for other pain medications, including opioids. Furthermore, a separate study conducted by the AMA found that state-level medical cannabis legalization resulted in substantial decreases in opioid prescriptions and among certain cancer patients.

In September, a study demonstrated that granting legal access to medical cannabis enables patients to reduce or cease their use of opioid painkillers without compromising their . Concurrently, another study highlighted a notable economic impact on the pharmaceutical industry following marijuana legalization events, resulting in an average market loss of nearly $10 billion for drugmakers.

The cumulative evidence underscores the growing acceptance and adoption of medical cannabis as a viable alternative to prescription opioids. As more studies continue to validate the benefits of medical marijuana, the conversation around its role in pain management and reducing opioid reliance gains further significance.

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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