Legal Marijuana Leads to Fewer Opioid Deaths, Studies Conclude

Two new studies find that opioid-related deaths decline when states legalize access to marijuana. In fact, when adult-use cannabis laws are in place, the rate of opioid overdoses declines by at least 20%.

Both papers, published in the journal Economic Inquiry, not only show the impact of passing such laws, but also how dispensaries play a role in helping to quell these deaths.

The first study, helmed by researchers in Massachusetts and Colorado, claims to be the first to show the causal effects of access to recreational cannabis on opioid-related deaths.

“We find that marijuana legalization causes a significant decline in opioid mortality — especially deaths from synthetic opioids — with particularly pronounced benefits in states that have legalized recreational usage,” the study’s authors write.

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