Areas with More Marijuana Dispensaries Have Fewer Opioid Deaths, New Study Finds

A new study states that areas that have increased access to cannabis dispensaries are associated with a reduction in opioid-related deaths. The study was conducted in 23 states from 2014-2018 by looking at opioid mortality rate and cannabis dispensary prevalence.


Findings include:

  • 17% reduction in opioid-related deaths in counties that increased from 1 to 2 legal dispensaries
  • Additional 8.5% decrease in counties that increased from 2 to 3 legal dispensaries
  • 21% reduction in deaths associated with synthetic opioids other than methadone with an increase from 1 to 2 dispensaries


“If consumers use cannabis and opioids for pain management, increasing the supply of legal cannabis might have implications for fentanyl demand and opioid related mortality rates overall,” the researchers wrote. “Cannabis is generally thought to be a less addictive substance than opioids…This study highlights the importance of considering the complex supply side of related drug markets and how this shapes opioid use and misuse.”


Read more here.