Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use In Medicare Part D

fewer_pillsNow a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs provides clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 1826 fewer doses of narcotic pain pills, 265 fewer doses of anti-depressants each year, 486 fewer doses of anti-seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.


Health Aff July 2016 vol. 35 no. 7 1230-1236