Study: Fewer drugs prescribed when cannabis is legal

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Two researchers have found a link between the legalization of cannabis and the decline in drug prescriptions in the United States. In the 18 U.S. states where the herb is legal, anti-anxiety capsules were down 12%, depression and sleep disorders down 11%, seizures down 10%, and seizures down 8%. painkillers. Only drugs against nausea, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis do not experience a decline.

“These results are important. This could save money for social security programs. Also, it is a chance to reduce the harm associated with the dangerous side effects of certain prescribed drugs”recalls Shyam Raman, co-author of the study, in a press release.

Both scientists are young doctoral students. Shyam Raman studies at the Cornell Institute of Public Policy; Ashley Bradford is at Indiana University. Their study was published in Health Economics and reviewed by other scientists, as is customary.

Cannabis as a replacement for opioids

To obtain these results, Raman and Bradford retrieved data from the different Medicaid, state-specific social security programs. Their period ranges between 2011 and 2019, that is to say a year before the first state legalized cannabis. In places where the “green wave” has swept, scientists are therefore observing a statistical drop in drug prescriptions.

However, be careful not to extrapolate these results, according to the authors. Their work is purely statistical. They did not interview the patients, in order to know if they left their capsules for cannabis. On social networks, some Americans testify to their virtual cessation of medication. But it is difficult to extend this situation to several million people.

In any case, the study of the two young doctoral students confirms a trend. Other work shows that cannabis with a high CBD dose can be interesting in place of opioids, these powerful drugs that cause 50,000 deaths a year in the United States.

“Pharmaceutical drugs are generally associated with dangerous side effects or, in the case of opioids, risk of misuse”write the two authors in their study.

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