Peter Kim/fotolia, Edited by Erin Kennedy
Research has indicated that states where medical marijuana is legal have lower rates of abuse and overdose of painkillers based on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Other research published on Health Affairs shows that the states where medical marijuana is legal have fewer prescriptions given out for painkillers and other drugs, as compared to states where medical marijuana is not legal. This information is based on data from prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013.
The research was carried out by Ashley and W. David Bradford. This father and daughter are researchers at the University of Georgia.
Pharmaceutical companies are being affected by these lower numbers in so many states across the country. And pharmaceutical companies fund research and provide financial support for anti-marijuana groups.
The Department of Health and Human Services had issued a recommendation that the main psychoactive ingredient, THC, no longer be a Schedule I drug. The HHS recommended that it be shifted to the less controlled category, Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.
The office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) learned that several months later, at least one pharmaceutical manufacturer of a synthetic THC stated its opposition against rescheduling natural THC to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The DEA later said no to the HHS recommendation. No reasons for this rejection were given.
According to the Bradford researchers, in 2013, the 17 states that allow medical marijuana saved approximately $165 million. If the whole country allowed for medical marijuana, it could save Medicare close to half a billion dollars.
The Bradfords indicated that those who use medical marijuana are finding relief, without taking pharmaceutical drugs.