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Study: Medical Marijuana Could Reduce Opioid Use

Marijuana could soon be legal in Florida for terminal patients.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Credit US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Fish and Wildlife Service

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, medical marijuana laws could be tied to reduced opioid use.

Columbia University researcher June Kim conducted the study using traffic fatality data.  Kim says many states conduct toxicology tests including opioid use after fatal traffic accidents.

“So you kind of have comparable samples, year to year and across states,” Kim says, “so I thought this was a good source to look at my question: whether these laws reduce opioid use.”

The study indicates drivers between the ages of 21 and 40 involved in fatal accidents are about half as likely to have opioids in their system after medical marijuana provisions take effect.   Some states don’t test for marijuana so it’s unclear whether marijuana use is rising as opioid use declines.

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Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.