A recent study shows that marijuana legalization produced a drop in opiate prescriptions.
The states that passed the medical marijuana law experience a decline in the orders of ailments that could be solved by cannabis. At the same time, the sale of medicines that have a different outcome than the one of marijuana remained the same.
It seems that patients prefer to use marijuana instead of prescription painkillers, which caused a major drop in the classical drug sale.
One positive consequence would be the decline in opiates use, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine or codeine, which is related to overdose deaths.
The author of the study points out that using an opiate is the single step necessary to expose a person to misuse, abuse, and death.
The research involved seniors’ prescriptions during three years, starting with 2010. The scientists compared the statistics for states that legalized marijuana with states that did not.
The study focused on nine medical conditions which could be treated with cannabis. The list includes anxiety, depression, glaucoma, pain, nausea, psychosis, sleep disorders, seizures, and spasticity.
The strongest medical evidence referring to marijuana efficacy is related to the treatment of pain. As it turned out, legal pot had a significant effect on lowering painkiller prescriptions.
On average, there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed in the states that legalized marijuana. As for the other conditions that can be treated with cannabis, the traditional drug prescriptions dropped up to four times.
The only medical conditions that were not influenced by marijuana legalization were glaucoma and spasticity. The two diseases have also been proven to have fewer benefits from a cannabis treatment. For example, marijuana can decrease the eye pressure experienced in glaucoma for only one hour.
Another idea presented by the authors is that the marijuana legalization did not change the number of prescription drugs for other conditions, such as antivirals or antibiotics.
The results of the investigation show that cannabis is used as an alternative to traditional medicine. Cannabis also offers a high margin of safety, relieving the disease without many secondary effects.
Even if marijuana is not the right choice for everyone, it can be useful to many people, and doctors should be the ones to decide which individuals would benefit the most from its use.
In terms of economics, the states that implemented marijuana laws had $165 million savings in three years due to the drop in prescription drugs.
Medical experts say that marijuana can help in depression and pain treatment because it alters mood. The pain is often connected with a negative emotion, and by changing the general disposition of a person, marijuana helps to lift off the sensation of pain.
Researchers will continue to analyze the long-term effects of marijuana use, as until know there is little known about the risks and benefits of medical cannabis.
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