Association between cannabis laws and opioid prescriptions among privately insured adults in the US.


Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-0177, United States of America; Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-0177, United States of America. Electronic address: [Email]


We examine the association between opioid prescription patterns in privately insured adults and changes in state cannabis laws among five age groups (18-25, 26-35 36-45, 46-55 and 56-64 years). Using the 2016 Clinformatics Data Mart, a nationwide commercial health insurance database, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of two types of opioid prescribing (>30-day and >90-day prescriptions) among all adults aged 18-64 based on the stringency of cannabis laws. We found a significant interaction between age and cannabis law on opioid prescriptions. Age-stratified multilevel multivariable analyses showed lower opioid prescription rates in the four younger age groups only in states with medical cannabis laws, when considering both >30 day and >90 day opioid use [>30 day adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.56, in 18-25, aOR = 0.67 in 26-35, aOR = 0.67 in 36-45, and aOR = 0.76 in 46-54 years; >90 day aOR = 0.56, in 18-25, aOR = 0.68 in 26-35, aOR = 0.69 in 36-45, and aOR = 0.77 in 46-54 years, P < 0.0001 for all]. This association was not significant in the oldest age group of 55-64 years. There was no significant association between opioid prescriptions and other categories of cannabis laws (recreational use and decriminalization) in any of the age groups studied.


Cannabis,Commercial insurance,Cross-sectional,Marijuana,Medical cannabis,Opioid,Prescription,