Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

4 Ways Legal Medical Cannabis Benefits Society

Published on December 13, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

Paul Armentano/Waking Times

Access to medicinal cannabis is improving Americans’ quality of life in ways few advocates could have initially predicted. As the number of people utilizing marijuana grows, so too does our understanding of its societal benefits. Here are some of the latest scientific findings:

1.) More Pot, Fewer Opioids

Medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse and mortality. According to data compiled by the RAND Corporation in 2015, patients are far less likely to become addicted to opiate pain relievers in jurisdictions that permit medical marijuana. Fewer opioid addicts mean fewer deaths, says the Journal of the American Medical Association. Their 2014 studydetermined that opioid-related overdose deaths fall 20% in the first year after the implementation of legalization and decline by as much as 33% by the sixth year.

2.) Reduced Prescription Drug Spending

It’s not just patients’ use of opiates that’s declining. According to a University of Georgia study, patients’ use of all varieties of prescription drugs drops when medical cannabis is an option. Researchers assessed the relationship between medical marijuana legalization laws and physicians’ prescribing patterns in 17 states from 2010–2013. Specifically, they assessed patients’ consumption of and spending on prescription drugs approved under Medicare Part D in nine domains: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity. They reported that pharmaceutical drug use fell significantly in seven of those domains, resulting in an annual savings of $165.2 million in prescription drug spending.

3.) Less Obesity

Those with access to cannabis tend to be more active and are less likely to drink alcohol. So argue the authors of a 2015 study published in Health Economics. Investigators at San Diego State University reviewed 12 years of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine the effects of medical marijuana laws on body weight, wellness and exercise.

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