Study: Access to Medical Cannabis Linked to Improved Mental Health in Older Adults

A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that older adults living within a 30-minute drive of a licensed medical cannabis dispensary report fewer days of poor mental health.

The study, titled Medical Cannabis Availability and Mental Health: Evidence From New York’s Medical Cannabis Program, was conducted by teams from the University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins University

“Evidence on cannabis legalization’s effects on mental health remains scarce, despite both rapid increases in cannabis use and an ongoing mental health crisis in the United States”, states the study’s abstract. “We use granular geographic data to estimate medical cannabis dispensary availability’s effects on self-reported mental health in New York state from 2011 through 2021 using a two-stage difference-in-differences approach to minimize bias introduced from the staggered opening of dispensaries.”

Researchers state that their findings “rule out that medical cannabis availability had negative effects on mental health for the adult population overall. We also find that medical cannabis availability reduced past-month self-reported poor mental health days by nearly 10%—3.37 percentage points—among adults 65 and above.”

They conclude by stating that “These results suggest medical cannabis access has positive health impacts for older populations, likely through pain relief.”

For more information on this study, click here.

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