“A staggering number of Americans are dying from overdoses attributed to prescription opioid medications (POMs). In response, states are creating policies related to POM harm reduction strategies, overdose prevention, and alternative therapies for pain management, such as cannabis (medical marijuana).
The purpose of this article is to examine state medical cannabis (MC) use laws and policies and their potential association with POM use and related harms.
Review of the current literature suggests states that implement MC policies could reduce POM associated mortality, improve pain management, and significantly reduce health care costs.
However, MC research is constrained by federal policy restrictions, and more research related to MC as a potential alternative to POM for pain management, MC harms, and its impact on POM related harms and healthcare costs should be a priority of public health, medical, and nursing research.”