Study: Did the Demand for Codeine Drop When Adult-Use Cannabis Is Legalized?

Study: Did the Demand for Codeine Drop When Adult-Use Cannabis Is Legalized?

A groundbreaking study from a team of researchers at Cornell University, the University of Pittsburgh, University of Georgia, and George Mason University has shed a positive light on the impact of adult-use cannabis laws. The study, published in the journal Health Economics, found that states with legalized cannabis for adult use experience a significant reduction in demand for codeine, a weaker prescription drug with a high potential for addiction.

The researchers observed a 26% reduction in pharmacy-based distribution of codeine and a 37% reduction in demand four years after the implementation of adult-use cannabis laws. These results demonstrate that legalization of cannabis may help address the opioid epidemic by reducing demand for addictive prescription drugs and curbing the misuse of codeine.

Johanna Catherine Maclean, of George Mason University and an author of the study, pointed out that while all substances carry some level of risk, cannabis use is arguably less harmful to health than the non-medical use of prescription opioids. The results of the study suggest that increasing legal access to cannabis may shift consumers away from opioids and towards a safer alternative.

The data used in the study was sourced from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidation Orders System, which tracks the flow of controlled substances in the U.S. The study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, further highlighting the importance and validity of the research.

In conclusion, this study provides a promising outlook for cannabis and its potential to address the opioid epidemic. The reduction in demand for codeine observed in states with adult-use cannabis laws is a step in the right direction for promoting public health and reducing the harm caused by prescription drug abuse. It is essential to continue researching and understanding the impact of cannabis legalization on prescription drug usage in order to make informed decisions about public health policy.

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