Marijuana Legalization Tied To ‘Significant Reductions’ In Prescription Drug Use, Researchers Find

Marijuana Legalization Tied To ‘Significant Reductions’ In Prescription Drug Use, Researchers Find
MJ moment

Legalizing marijuana for adult use is associated with decreased use of prescription drugs for the treatment of conditions such as anxiety, sleep, pain and seizures, according to a new research paper. Several previous studies have identified associations with the enactment of medical cannabis legalization at the state level and reduced pharmaceutical prescriptions, but this latest paper published in the journal Health Economics focuses on the potential impact of recreational legalization in 10 states plus Washington, D.C. Researchers used data from Medicaid reporting on prescription drugs from 2011 to 2019, using two-way fixed effects event study models to determine whether there’s a statistically significant relationship between giving adults legal access to regulated marijuana and the use of pharmaceuticals for six different conditions. The study found that there are “significant reductions in the volume of prescriptions within the drug classes that align with the medical indications for pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis, and seizures” in states that legalized cannabis for adult use. The results “suggest substitution away from prescription drugs and potential cost savings for state Medicaid programs,” the researchers wrote. On average, recreational cannabis legalization seems to be associated with reductions in prescription drug utilization for depression (-11 percent), anxiety (-12 percent), pain (-8 percent), seizures (-10 percent), psychosis (-11 percent) and sleep (-11 percent). The paper did not identify “measurable changes” in prescribing for nausea, spasticity or glaucoma post-legalization for adult use in the Medicaid population. While there are limitations to the study, including the lack of individualized data affirming that there’s a substitution effect in play, the study authors said that the findings “indicate a potential harm reduction opportunity, as pharmaceutical drugs often come with dangerous side effects or—as with opioids—potential for misuse.” Shyam Raman, a research at Cornell University who co-authored the paper, told Marijuana Moment that the…

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Source : Marijuana Legalization Tied To ‘Significant Reductions’ In Prescription Drug Use, Researchers Find

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