The demand for codeine decreases when cannabis is legal, according to the study
Across the United States, we’re seeing a trend showing that legal use of cannabis reduces demand for prescription codeine as the country continues its battle with opioid addiction.
The study published in Health Economics It found a significant drop in the number of people seeking codeine prescriptions in states where cannabis is legal, in what is considered positive news during a period when the country is suffering 10,000 overdose deaths annually from prescription opioid abuse.
Prescription drug addiction It is a growing concern in the country, as rehab centers welcome patients more than ever, as well as hospitals having to treat more patients for overdoses and other problems as a result of opioid abuse.
Of course, cannabis itself is addictive, but the potential for abuse and addiction is much greater in codeine, along with health concerns, and this report will certainly see more states that have not legalized cannabis looking into its potential.
Currently, 21 US states have passed recreational cannabis use bills, and given the impact it has on the number of people who misuse opioids, it could be a real tactic for state officials to try to combat this ever-growing issue.
Chiman Raman, lead author of the study, said, “Reducing opioid misuse will save lives”.
“Our research indicates that recreational cannabis laws significantly reduce the distribution of codeine in pharmacies, a potential overlooked benefit of legalizing recreational cannabis use.”
The main findings of the study
Among the main findings of the study in those states that have legalized recreational cannabis use are:
- Pharmaceutical-based distribution of codeine decreased by 26%, rising to 37% in those states where cannabis laws have been passed for four years or more.
- Little effect on the distribution of other opioids, however, anywhere.
- Little effect on codeine distribution in hospitals, which have stricter policies and regulations around the drug than in pharmacies.
Many health professionals consider it a useful discovery that could help overall health, particularly when it comes to managing chronic pain.
Joanna Katherine McLean of George Mason University added in the study, “Increasing legal access to cannabis may be turning some consumers away from opioids and toward cannabis.
“While all substances have some risk, cannabis use is arguably less harmful to health than non-medical use of prescription opioids.”