A new study published in Health Affairs, a leading journal of health policy, discovered a decline in the number of some prescription medications for Medicare patients in states with medical marijuana programs.
People taking opioid painkillers and antidepressants appear to be giving up their prescriptions and switching over to medical marijuana.
The data examined was collected for the timeframe of 2010 through 2013, SF Gate reports. What the study did find is that medical marijuana programs actually saved Medicare an estimated $165 million in 2013 alone. That number could more than triple if medical marijuana becomes legal nationwide.
Study author, W. David Bradford said, “We wouldn’t say that saving money is the reason to adopt this. But it should be part of the discussion. We think it’s pretty good indirect evidence that people are using this as medication.”
The study information does not suggest a specific demographic group was the focus of the data received. The study used information based upon Medicare covered patients with prescriptions for painkillers and antidepressants as a whole.