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Time Trends Matter: The Case of Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Overdose Mortality

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  • Pohl, R. Vincent

Abstract

Mortality due to opioid overdoses has been growing rapidly in the U.S., with some states experiencing much steeper increases than others. Legalizing medical cannabis could reduce opioid-related mortality if potential opioid users substitute towards cannabis as a safer alternative. I show, however, that a substantial reduction in opioid-related mortality associated with the implementation of medical cannabis laws can be explained by selection bias. States that legalized medical cannabis exhibit lower pre-existing mortality trends. Accordingly, the mitigating effect of medical cannabis laws on opioid-related mortality vanishes when I include state-specific time trends in state-year-level difference-in-differences regressions.

Suggested Citation

  • Pohl, R. Vincent, 2018. "Time Trends Matter: The Case of Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Overdose Mortality," MPRA Paper 87237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:87237
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    Cited by:

    1. Garin, Julio & Pohl, R. Vincent & Smith, Rhet A., 2018. "The Effect of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries on Opioid and Heroin Overdose Mortality," MPRA Paper 89613, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    medical cannabis laws; opioid overdose mortality; difference-in-differences; group-specific time trends;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law

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