Medical Cannabis Lowers Prescription Drug Use

You may not realize it but as a marijuana patient, you can save a few bucks on your medicine in the long run. For instance, a study conducted by the University of Georgia showed that if your state has approved medical cannabis use, there is a significant decline in the number of prescription drugs. The data is published in the July edition of the scientific journal Health Affairs.

The researchers looked at prescriptions filled by Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (or Part D) enrollees from 2010 to 2013. They then narrowed the prescriptions down to ones where medical marijuana could be beneficial. Those prescriptions were for the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Spasticity

Results were astounding – fewer prescriptions filled for the majority of those conditions. The pain and depression categories noted a decrease in 1,826 and 265 daily dosages respectively.

In another study at the University of Michigan, opioid use declined dramatically when pain patients use medical marijuana. The study involved 185 pain patients at a medical marijuana dispensary in Ann Arbor. 64 percent of the study participants reported a reduction in their use of pain medications and 45 percent said cannabis improved their quality of life. Patients also experienced fewer side effects from cannabis than they did from opioids.

Cannabis Use Could Bring Down Prescription Drug Costs

In California, physicians may recommend marijuana use. Spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. will most likely increase 4% to 7% through 2021, reaching $580 billion to $610 billion. If you live with pain or other chronic ailments – whether it be physical or emotional – it’s important to weigh your treatment options carefully and deal with the rising drug cost.

Do you think that the drop in prescription drug spending may be associated with the passing of medical cannabis program? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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