Patients fill significantly fewer prescriptions for such conditions as nausea and pain in states where medical marijuana is available, researchers reported Wednesday in one of the first studies to examine how medical cannabis might be affecting approved treatments.
Prescriptions for all drugs that treat pain combined, from cortisone to OxyContin, were nearly 6 percent lower in states with medical marijuana programs. Anxiety medication was 5 percent lower.
The result was a drop of more than $165 million in health-care spending in states that had medical marijuana programs running in 2013, including New Jersey, according to the analysis of national Medicare data. The savings would equal 0.5 percent of the entire Medicare program’s drug budget if medicinal cannabis were available in every state, the authors projected.
The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs, is one of the first to hint at that effect.
“When states turned on a medical marijuana law,” use of treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration went down, said senior author David Bradford, a health economist at the University of Georgia, “suggesting that they were substituting something else – and the plausible thing that they would be substituting was marijuana.”
In actuality, the use of marijuana can help with everyday maladies such as headache, stomach upset and a variety of other symptoms such as anxiety, stress, etc…