In states where medical marijuana has been legalized to treat chronic pain, there have been significantly fewer deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers found that states with medical marijuana laws before 2010 had 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose deaths on average when compared to states where medical marijuana was not legalized.
Researchers, led by Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, looked at state medical marijuana laws and opioid overdose deaths using death certificate data from 1999 to 2010.
The authors drew no conclusions but said the issue was worth more study and attention to determine how it could shape public policy about marijuana.
Here's an interesting chart from JAMA showing the trend: