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Association between county level cannabis dispensary counts and opioid related mortality rates...

... in the United States: panel data study.

The epidemic of opioid misuse and drug overdose deaths in the United States constitutes a grave public health crisis. Opioid related mortality rates have increased sharply since 1999, representing over two thirds of all US drug overdose deaths in 2018.1 Researchers have estimated that altering the overall supply side of drug markets could help ameliorate the opioid crisis. In the US, this supply side has changed markedly as an increasing number of individual states have legalized the production, use, or sale of cannabis, even as the US government continues to treat cannabis possession as a federal offense. In 2008, 13 states had legalized use or sale of medical cannabis, while none allowed cannabis for recreational use. By the end of 2018, 33 states had legalized medical cannabis and 10 states had legalized recreational cannabis. In this study we examined whether the availability of legal cannabis in an increasing number of geographical areas has any implications for opioid misuse.

Source: British Medical Journal (BMJ)

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