Author links open overlay panel.
- Many states and District of Columbia in the United States have legalized marijuana.
- One reason is to expect marijuana to help reduce opioid dependence and mortality.
- However, opioid deaths have increased more where marijuana was legalized.
- This correlation is highly statistically significant for all opioids and fentanyl subgroup.
- The COVID-19 pandemic increased marijuana use and worsened opioid mortality
Conclusion: Instead of supporting the marijuana protection hypothesis, ecologic associations at the national level suggest that marijuana legalization has contributed to the U.S.’s opioid epidemic in all major races/ethnicities, and especially in blacks. If so, the increased use of marijuana during the 2020–2022 pandemic may thereby worsen the country's opioid crisis.