Medical Research News

Recreational Cannabis Data Analysis

recreational cannabis
Written by Cara Wietstock

The latest from Colorado shows a direct link between recreational cannabis and a reduction in Opioid-related deaths in the state.

The study, entitled Recreational Cannabis Legalization and Opioid-Related Deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015, was authored by Melvin D. Livingston Ph.D., Tracey E. Barnett Ph.D., Chris Delcher Ph.D., and Alexander C. Wagenaar Ph.D. in the American Journal of Public Health. The objective was to take a look at the association between Colorado’s adult-use laws and opioid-related deaths. What they found was no surprise following many similar studies over the last few years.

To analyze the data appropriately, the research team used an interrupted time-series design from 2000 to 2015. They compared changes in level and slope of opioid-related deaths per month both before and after the first recreational cannabis sales in Colorado. Percentages were taken by comparing the unadjusted model-smoothed number of fatal tragedies due to opioids after the final follow-up with the number of deaths before legalization.

Before cannabis legalization, opioid-related deaths were on the rise in Colorado. This research shows that since cannabis was legalized there has been a 6.5% decrease in monthly opioid-related deaths in the Centennial State. In a country that has officially declared an opioid crisis, one would think that the Presidential administration would take notice. But they continue to turn a blind eye to the data, and Jeff Sessions persists in his crusade against the cannabis industry.

In conclusion, the research did show a correlation to fewer opioid-related deaths in the short term following recreational cannabis in Colorado. The research team added that as similar data becomes available in more states we should analyze it in a similar fashion. If we continue to present data that shows this correlation then the lawmakers and politicians should no longer be able to ignore the good that cannabis can do.

About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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