On the other side of the ledger, however, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.
Pacula characterizes her team’s findings as intriguing and says that any indication that a policy might mitigate the ongoing surge in opioid dependence and mortality deserves attention.
We need to give the data on marijuana and opioid use time to catch up with the policies that have been enacted.” She expects that such an analysis would produce different results and shed additional light on how LMDs and other medical marijuana policies, singly and together, shape population behaviors, substance abuse, and other public health outcomes.
Pacula and colleagues compared rates of marijuana and prescription opioid-related use and problems, from 1999 and 2014, in states that allowed and didn’t allow physicians to recommend marijuana, and in states with and without policies that: The results linked LMDs to decreased opioid-related treatment admissions and overdose deaths, and to increased recreational marijuana use and treatment admissions.
Neither of the other two policies was consistently associated with these outcomes.