The Impact of Cannabis Access Laws on Opioid Prescribing

52 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018 Last revised: 15 Nov 2018

See all articles by Benjamin J. McMichael

Benjamin J. McMichael

University of Alabama - School of Law

R. Van Horn

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Date Written: October 15, 2018

Abstract

While recent research has shown that cannabis access laws can reduce the use of prescription opioids, the effect of these laws on opioid use is not well understood for all dimensions of use and for the general United States population. Analyzing a dataset of over 1.3 billion individual opioid prescriptions between 2011 and 2017, which were aggregated to the individual provider-year level, we find that recreational and medical cannabis access laws reduce the number of morphine milligram equivalents prescribed each year by 6.9 and 6.1 percent, respectively. These laws also reduce the total days supply of opioids prescribed, the total number of patients receiving opioids, and the probability a provider prescribes any opioids net of any offsetting effects. Additionally, we find consistent evidence that cannabis access laws have different effects across types of providers and physician specialties.

Keywords: cannabis, marijuana, opioids

Suggested Citation

McMichael, Benjamin J. and Van Horn, Ray and Viscusi, W. Kip, The Impact of Cannabis Access Laws on Opioid Prescribing (October 15, 2018). U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3266629; Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-60. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3266629

Benjamin J. McMichael (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

Ray Van Horn

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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