One of the prominent arguments in favor of medical marijuana has been that it may help combat the opioid epidemic by giving doctors an alternative to opioids for treating pain. Some research supported the claim, indicating that states with legal medicinal marijuana had seen fewer opioid overdose deaths than states without legal medical cannabis.
But a new study has called this argument and the research supporting it into question.
Previous studies, particularly a widely cited 2014 study, found a correlation at the state level between the legalization of medical cannabis and fewer overdose deaths. That line of research indicated that medical marijuana may lead to a reduction in overdoses, under the theory that people could use cannabis to treat pain rather than opioids. Some state lawmakers embraced the studies, citing them to legalize medical pot or allow medical marijuana to help treat opioid