A study set to publish in the journal, Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, has found that legalizing cannabis has led to a “marked decline” in the volume of opioids prescribed across Canada.
“Our findings support the hypothesis that easier access to cannabis for pain may reduce opioid use for both public and private drug plans,” notes the study abstract.
The study found that, following legalization, total monthly opioid spending by public payers fell from $267,000 per month to $95,000, and that the average dose also declined from 22.3 milligrams per claim to 4.1 mg.
The findings of this study add to the growing body of evidence that easier access to cannabis for patients with pain may reduce opioid use and partially offset expenditures for both public and private drug plans.
Another study published in the Journal of Health Economics in 2020 found that increasing access to low-THC, high-CBD products in Italy led to significant decreases in the number of dispensed anxiolytics, sedatives and anti-psychotics.