Using Marijuana Increases Risk of Developing Prescription Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder, Study Finds


Over the last few years, there has been growing interest in the possibility that smoking marijuana might help curb or prevent opioid use disorder.  This possibility is supported by relatively low opioid-related death rates in states with medical marijuana laws.  However, results from a new study by Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, and colleagues at the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) challenge this hypothesis.  The study followed over 34,000 US adults for three years, and found that although most adults who used marijuana did not develop an opioid use disorder, using marijuana significantly increased the risk of developing an opioid use disorder. The new findings suggest a need to rethink the assumption that increasing marijuana use will somehow reduce nonmedical use of prescription opioids...   READ MORE



Cannabis Use and Risk of Prescription Opioid Use Disorder in the United States” was published September 26, 2017 in the America Journal of Psychiatry. The authors are Mark Olfson, MD, MPH (CUMC); Melanie M. Wall, PhD (CUMC); Shang-Min Liu, MS (CUMC); and Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD (NIDA).

The study was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse grant DA019606 to Dr. Olfson.

Dr. Blanco owns stock in Eli Lilly, General Electric, and Sanofi. The other authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.



Marijuana, Opioid Use Disorder, Press Release