A study published in the British Medical Journal by researchers at Yale University and the University of California, Davis, reveals a connection between prevalence of cannabis dispensaries and a drop in opiate deaths, something that hasn’t been specifically looked at in other cannabis-and-opiate relation studies.
The study, headed up by authors Greta Hsu and Balázs Kovács, looked at whether adding more dispensaries to an area, and therefore easier access to cannabis, made a difference in deaths from opiates.
In order to carry out the study, researchers looked at 812 counties in the United States and 23 states that allow legal dispensaries in some form. It looked only at states that had legalized cannabis in some form by the end of 2017.
The findings show that there was a 17 percent reduction in opiate deaths from the years of 2014 to 2018 in areas that have at least one dispensary. Two dispensaries per region seemed to lead to a 21 percent decrease in opiate deaths, and three dispensaries led the rate to fall by another 8.5 percent.
“Our study examines the association between the count of active dispensary operations (a more direct measure of legal cannabis availability than legislation events) and opioid