Do-it-Yourself Medicine? The Impact of Light Cannabis Liberalization on Prescription Drugs

34 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2020

See all articles by Vincenzo Carrieri

Vincenzo Carrieri

"Magna Graecia" University of Catanzaro; Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Leonardo Madio

University of Padua - Department of Economics and Management; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Francesco Principe

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

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Abstract

Governments worldwide are increasingly concerned about the booming CBD (cannabidiol) products. However, little is known about the impact of their liberalization. We study a unique case of unintended liberalization of a CBD-based product (light cannabis) that occurred in Italy in 2017. Using unique and high-frequency data on prescription drug sales and by exploiting the staggered local availability of the new product in each Italian province, we document a significant substitution effect between light cannabis and anxiolytics, sedatives, opioids, anti-depressants, and antipsychotics. Such medical non-adherence is consistent with a self-medication interpretation. Results are informative for regulators and suggest that policies contrasting this "green oil" boom risk to disregard the effective need of patients to seek effective reliefs of their symptoms.

Keywords: light cannabis, self-medication, marijuana, difference-in-difference, prescription drugs, CBD

JEL Classification: H51, H75, I18, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Carrieri, Vincenzo and Madio, Leonardo and Principe, Francesco, Do-it-Yourself Medicine? The Impact of Light Cannabis Liberalization on Prescription Drugs. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13038, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3558336

Vincenzo Carrieri (Contact Author)

"Magna Graecia" University of Catanzaro ( email )

Catanzaro
Italy
88100 (Fax)

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

Hohenzollernstr. 1-3
Essen, 45128
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Leonardo Madio

University of Padua - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Via del Santo, 33
Padova, 35123
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.leonardomadio.eu

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Francesco Principe

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

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