Opioid Deaths Are Down in Colorado. Is Legal Pot the Cause?

Opioid deaths fell 6.5% in Colorado in the two years after recreational marijuana was legalized, reversing a 14-year trend of rising opioid-related fatalities. The findings, published in the November edition of the American Journal of Public Health, could have significant implications for states like California that have also legalized pot and those considering doing so in the future.

The researchers aren’t ready to draw any firm conclusions just yet. More research is needed to determine the cause of the decline, they say. But the possibility that marijuana’s availability put a dent in opioid overdoses is an exciting one as the country grapples with an overwhelming crisis of opioid dependence and death.

This is not the first study to suggest that cannabis could hold the answer to our opioid epidemic. CalMarijuanaPolicy discussed findings out of the University of New Mexico last month suggesting cannabis could help prevent opioid addiction in patients with chronic pain.


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