Studies Show States with Medical Marijuana See Dramatic Decline in Opioid Related Deaths


As America’s problem with prescription pain medication (read: OxyContin and Vicodin) kills approximately 46 people every day from overdose across the US, two recent studies have shown that states with legalized medical marijuana dispensaries have witnessed a dramatic reduction in their opiate related death rates.

For the most recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation, researchers at UC Irvine evaluated the effect of states with medical marijuana laws and their overall influence on opioid related issues – addiction and death. The study was conducted by calculating the states treatment admissions for opioid-based addiction, then assessing their overall opioid related deaths on a statewide basis.

The study’s author concluded,

Our findings suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.”

States with medical marijuana laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose rate

States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose

The promising UC Irvine study mirrored a report published in October of 2014 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine). The JAMA findings noted that between 1999 and 2010, states with medical marijuana laws enjoyed a dramatic decline in their overall opioid related death rate; reducing it by a “lower mean” average of 24.8%.

According to data provided by the CDC in 2010, approximately 22,134 drug overdoses involved prescription pills; of which, opioid analgesics, like methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone were linked to over 16,650 overdoses. Leaving little doubt to the principal role opioids play in America’s REAL drug problem … prescription pills.

About Author

My name is Monterey Bud and I was born in Long Beach and raised on the central coast. I surf, dab, burn and write. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I have been writing about marijuana strains, science, and politics for since 2012. A Big Sur cultivator from the pre-helicopter days, I'm a big fan of new strains and breaking news. I can be reached on Twitter @MontereyBud


  1. This study is awesome/hilarious. The old boys club has been saying for decades that cannabis is a gateway drug leading to harder drugs such as opioids. This is clearly the opposite.

  2. I too, am living proof that marijuana does not lead to harder drug use. I am close to 70 and have been smoking weed since the age of 19 and have held high responsibility jobs in the aerospace, defense, nuclear and educational industries. I even got my Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors!) at the age of 64! I have been against hard-line prescription drugs as doctors are so eager to prescribe, and have taken them only when absolutely required for surgeries, etc..

    Marijuana does not lead to harder drugs – (irresponsible) people do!! IMHO, I believe marijuana has many beneficial uses and should be legalized in all 50 states. Stop feeding the big pharmaceutical companies!

      • My degree gave me the personal satisfaction that I could earn it, at age 64 with honors, and I had no student loans to pay off. I got fee waiver as an employment benefit for working for a state university. I personally paid for all of my books. I would never spend for something I could never pay off!! Sorry for you.

  3. The author seems to assume that the ruling class cares about deaths, which is why he brings up this point. But, the rulers don’t give a rat’s ass about dying peons.

  4. Nick Edgecomb on

    I was diagnosed with 4th degree prostate cancer 100 days ago. The cancer mastisized into my spine in several places. I was past radiation or chemotherapy. The Drs gave me hormone therapy which I added vitamins, pot and a diet of no dairy products. After 90 days my PSA count went from 64 to .2. The doctors were amazed. During my aortic valve replacement and this bout of cancer not once did I ever use pain drugs except pot. In both cases I was cured. I want to say God was with me too.

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