U.S. Study shows increased injuries among young workers with cannabis legalization

Mar 19, 2024

According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Health Forum, there has been an increase in on-the-job injuries among younger workers in the U.S. following legalization of cannabis sale for recreational purposes. Specifically, the study determined that legalization of recreational cannabis sales in the U.S. was associated with a 10% increase in workplace injuries among young workers aged 20 to 34 years.

Moreover, the study’s authors also note that previous research involving older workers did not demonstrate the same results. In fact, research shows that older workers’ injury rates usually decrease after the use of recreational cannabis becomes legal in their state. “Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that recreational [cannabis] impedes cognitive function and care among younger workers,” reads the research article.

Another research study published in 2023 in the journal Social Science & Medicine analyzed data collected from U.S. death certificates over the period spanning 2009 to 2019 to determine the impact of recreational cannabis markets on fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, suicide, and opioid overdose. As part of the study, the data was collected from seven U.S. states, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, California, and Massachusetts.

It was found that recreational cannabis sale was associated with a 10% increase in motor vehicle accident deaths. Accordingly, the results showed substantial increases in crash fatalities in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and California of 16%, 22%, 20%, and 14%, respectively. In addition, the study also analyzed the association between recreational cannabis sales and suicide rates, and found no evidence that recreational cannabis markets impacted suicides. Importantly, the study results also showed that recreational cannabis sales were associated with a relative reduction in opioid overdose deaths that ranged between 3 and 28% for most states. Interestingly, on average, recreational cannabis markets were associated with an 11% reduction in opioid overdose fatalities.