Legal weed lowers prescription drug use, study finds

This article originally appeared on 2Fast4Buds and appears here with permission.

It has long been suggested and subsequently confirmed by research that passing medical marijuana laws has a significant effect on the volume of drug prescriptions. Now, a team of scientists from Cornell University has discovered that the same thing also happens when a state or territory legalizes recreational use of the substance by adults.

To arrive at these results, the researchers studied data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in all 50 states between 2011 and 2019. During this period, 18 US states plus the District of Columbia authorized the use of cannabis. for adults, with Colorado and Oregon being the first to do so in 2012.


Consistent with previous findings regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and in full accordance with the hypothesis proposed by the team, the end of cannabis prohibition leads to the end of the abuse of prescription pharmaceuticals. And since most of these drugs are either expensive or too expensive, their reduced consumption results in significant savings for Medicare and Medicaid.

A larger positive consequence associated with the legalization of cannabis is that many prescription drugs have serious side effects and replacing them with cannabis results in reduced harm and risk to the patient. The overuse of prescription painkillers is particularly dangerous, which has recently led to an opioid crisis that many experts and policymakers are calling an epidemic.


The list of conditions for which prescription volumes drop when cannabis becomes legal include pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis and seizures. This is yet another circumstantial evidence of the drug’s therapeutic efficacy. Although the study was not designed to provide an explanation for its results, the authors suggest that thanks to the greater availability of cannabis, some people are self-medicating with it instead of going to the doctor first. place. And since most primary care visits result in prescriptions, many Rx blanks remain unfilled.

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