Alternative methods of pain management have been a topic of discussion as the United States grapples with the opioid and heroin epidemic. The legalization of cannabis has often been suggested as a possible alternative but little scientific research existed examining the relationship between cannabis laws and rates of opioid prescribing.
In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, HeFei Wen, an assistant professor in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, asks and answers the question, “Are medical and adult-use marijuana laws associated with lower rates of opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees?”
Wen found that medical and adult-use cannabis laws were associated with lower opioid prescribing rates. The overprescribing of opioids is considered to be a major contributor to the opioid epidemic.