A new study suggests that states that pass medical marijuana laws tend to experience a significant decline in prescriptions for ailments that could be treated with cannabis, including for the treatment of pain. Researchers analyzed data from Medicare Part D and included all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013. They specifically looked at nine conditions for which marijuana might be considered a substitute for FDA-approved medications – anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. As study senior researcher W. David Bradford of the University of Georgia’s Department of Public Administration and Policy explained, “There was a substantial shift away from the use of [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved drugs when states turned their medical marijuana laws on.” Further, patients most often use medical marijuana to treat pain, causing a large decrease in the average daily doses of prescription painkillers. Most workers’ comp programs do not reimburse claimants for medical marijuana.
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