New research, out of the University of Georgia, has discovered that prescription drug use has decreased since the legalization of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana has several prescribed uses such as: chronic pain conditions, anxiety, sleep disorders, cancer, and depression, to name a few. It has been long debated in many countries whether or not it should be legalized. Previously marijuana had been considered a “Schedule 1” under the Controlled Substances Act, which meant it was restricted in use. This classification meant that federally, it was determined to have high abuse potential, with no medical use, and carry a high risk for safety concerns. Recently, various states and countries around the world have begun to re-evaluate their position on the use of marijuana.
Statistics show that since the legalization of medical marijuana in 17 states, there has been a reduction in prescription drug use by an estimated 165.2 million dollars in the year 2013. Meaning, if all states would have passed the same allowances for the use of medical marijuana, Medicare Part D could have been $468.1 million less in 2013. This equates to 0.5 percent of current spending overall by Medicare.
This study emphasizes the potential lessening of financial burden on Medicare by legalizing medical marijuana. It also shows a benefit in the reduction of prescription use, which can have many side effects. Although possible negative consequences need to be explored, the potential savings for the medical system could be huge.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.
Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford. Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use in Medicare Part D. Health Affairs, 2016 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1551