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States Where Marijuana Is Permitted For Adult Use Are Less Likely To Prescribe Codeine!

A large drop in the number of codeine prescriptions filled at pharmacies has been observed in states where recreational marijuana use is permitted, according to new research. The findings were released on January 19 in the journal Health Economics.

Eleven states that allowed adult-use cannabis between 2010 and 2019 were analyzed using data from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which keeps tabs on banned narcotics across the United States. After four years, many states saw a decrease of up to 37 percent in the “pharmacy-based distribution of codeine,” according to the study’s authors.

In the year 2020, there were 43.4 opioid prescriptions for every one hundred Floridians. More than ten thousand people in the United States die from opioid overdoses each year; codeine is an opioid. However, the study revealed that the legalization of marijuana had “little impact on the distribution of other opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine in any environment,” including codeine.

However, there was no change in the amount of codeine given out at hospitals after marijuana was legalized. Codeine is an opioid with a lower potency and a higher propensity for addiction, which may explain why pharmacies are reducing their supply of it.

Because cannabis, like codeine, can alleviate chronic pain, its legalization has the potential to divert users away from the dangerous and addictive opioids. Shyam Raman, a doctorate candidate at Cornell University and the study’s primary author, said, “A reduction in the misuse of opioids will save lives.”

An often-overlooked potential advantage of legalizing recreational cannabis use is a decrease in the delivery of codeine to pharmacies, which our data suggests it does. The results of this study lend credence to previous research showing that when given the choice, patients generally choose medical marijuana over opiate medicines.

With the help of responses from anonymous online surveys, the Journal of Pain reached this result in 2019. When asked why they had made the switch, survey respondents most commonly noted improved symptom control and fewer negative side effects.

Similar research based on a survey of 2,000 adult marijuana users in Canada was published in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2019. The utilization of DEA data in place of survey participants makes this research novel. Distribution of banned medications is tracked by the DEA all the way to its final destination, be it a pharmacy, hospital, specialist, or narcotic treatment facility.

As far as the authors are aware, this is the first study to make use of the DEA data in this fashion. The recreational use of marijuana by adults is now legal in 21 states as of November 2022. Of course, Florida isn’t one of them.

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Sheela Sharma

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Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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