According to a study recently published in Health Affairs, legalization of medical marijuana saves lives from opioid overdoses, and could save taxpayers $1 Billion per annum because patients use less pharmaceuticals.
Colorado Politics comments on the study and it’s amazing findings. Researchers found that in the nine states where medical cannabis is legal, painkiller prescriptions, anti-anxiety medication and antidepressant use dropped remarkably. Anti-nausea medication prescriptions fell by 17%, anti depressants by 13% and anti- seizure and psychosis medicines dropped by 12%
Opioid prescription dropped
The most significant news is that the prescription of opioid pain medication dropped by 11%. Other studies have also indicated that overdose rates were lower in states where medical marijuana programs were in place.
Ashley Bradford and W. David Bradford from Georgia University, the authors of the study, say their findings add to the body of knowledge that indicates the benefits of medical marijuana. It shows that doctors and patients are using marijuana as medicine, and when used to replace or supplement opioids, it could be saving lives.
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Billion saved by MJ
Bradford and Bradford estimated that if all states had medical marijuana programs back in 2014, the total savings for Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion. Estimates show Colorado alone will save approximately $14 million a year on prescription meds. A 2016 study published similar results.
Opioids debilitate – medical marijuana saves lives
Dustin Mahon had a debilitating addiction to opioids before he was lucky enough to be introduced to medical marijuana by his wife. She couldn’t stand seeing him going downhill. He describes his addiction as “hardcore.” Dustin suffers from a condition called new daily persistent headache (NDPH) syndrome. It is rare and extremely painful condition. There is no treatment, so he was prescribed plenty of opioids.
When he was using opioids, Mahon experienced 10-second memory loss. This meant that he couldn’t complete a sentence without getting lost and forgetting what he wanted to say. The opioids were destroying his brain. He was astonished when he eventually tried marijuana. It not only managed the pain, but his brain started working again for the first time in six years.
Mahon threw the Oxycontin out and has not touched one in five years. He says his life feels good now that he has no pain. Good feelings rush through his body for the first time since he was a child.
Professor agrees. States could benefit.
Dr. Daniel Clauw, an anesthesiology professor, agrees that cannabis is good medicine. He says medical marijuana is as effective as opioids in most cases of chronic pain. There also is no question it is much safer. 35,000 people die of opioid overdose in the US annually, and absolutely no one has ever died from using marijuana.
Lawmakers should take note. Although many remain opposed to medical cannabis, the reduction in pharmaceutical use in medical cannabis states speaks for itself. Even if lawmakers don’t care that medical marijuana saves lives, what state doesn’t like the idea of more money in its coffers?