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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 88219, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:88219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    medical cannabis laws; opioid overdose mortality; difference-in-differences; group-specific time trends;

    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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