Medical Marijuana Use Linked to Lower Prescription Drug Use

Article by CBC News

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American states that allow their residents to use marijuana for medical purposes have seen a marked decline in prescription drug use among the elderly and disabled, according to a study published Wednesday.

The University of Georgia study looked at the costs of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in 2013 — a time when 17 states and the District of Columbia had passed medical marijuana laws.

Researchers estimated the savings from lower prescription drug use in areas that had medical marijuana laws at $165.2 million US over the full year.

If every state legalized medical marijuana, the study forecast that Medicare would save more than $468 million US a year on pharmaceuticals for disabled Americans and those 65 and older.

Those figures, according to the researchers, suggest that some people are using marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs to treat ailments such as pain, depression and sleep disorders.

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