New data shows states that have passed laws legalizing medical cannabis now have fewer drivers testing positive for opioids after fatal car crashes.
The study, published Saturday in the American Journal of Public Health, was conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and analyzed federal crash data in 18 states over the period from 1999 to 2013.
States with medical pot laws saw a decrease in opioid-related automobile fatalities, as compared to states with no medical MJ.
The 21 to 40 age group (the group also most likely to use medical marijuana) experienced the biggest declines in opioid-involved fatal car wrecks.
“We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” said lead study author June H. Kim, in a statement.