Could marijuana reduce demand for prescription drugs?
Everyone has different opinions when it comes to marijuana use, and the diversity of attitudes has become more prevalent as US states continue to legalize the drug for medical and recreational use. While the legalization of marijuana has only taken place within the the last decade or, researchers are already seeing some of the impacts this drug is having on society.
One of these impacts was discovered by researchers from Cornell University and Indiana University, where they found that states where marijuana was legalized had significantly lower demand for expensive drug prescriptions. With the high costs of these prescription drugs, the results of this study could have multi-billion dollar implications for state health systems.
Background: The cost of drug prescriptions
Due to the way their healthcare system is formatted, the United States has one of the highest drug cost of prescriptions per person worldwide. These costs amount to $1200 per person each year. With a calculated population in 2020 of 331 002 651 citizens, the total cost to this country of annual drug prescriptions is $397 billion. This significant cost is not the same in all states, with Texas and California pay the most and washington d.c.. and Vermont pay the least for drug prescriptions. While inflation and manufacturing have driven drug prices up, these numbers are still staggering and reveal just how high prescription drug use is in the United States. by taking drugs. Although this has helped many people, it has also led to a giant opiate epidemic that the United States still faces.
Even for people with insurance, getting prescriptions can be expensive. Diabetes medications and insulin are among the costliest drugs for insurers, while antidepressants are the most expensive drugs for those who pay out of pocket. With factors like marijuana potentially reducing the need for these drugs, the implications could be enormous for the American healthcare system and its members.
Analysis: Investigating States for Prescription Drugs
Two researchers from Cornell University and Indiana University looked at states with legal marijuana use and demand for prescription drugs to see if they were related. Using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, the researchers looked at these two variables in all cases. 50 states between the years 2011 to 2019. They found that for states where marijuana is legalized, demand for prescription drugs to help with anxiety, seizures, depression, and insomnia has dropped significantly. Although more research is needed, these results suggest that many people use marijuana to replace their prescription medications.
Perspectives: reducing health care costs
“These results have important implications,” explained a Cornell University postdoctoral researcher, Shyam Raman. “The reductions in drug use we see could result in significant savings for state Medicaid programs. The results also point to an opportunity to reduce the harm that can result from dangerous side effects of prescription drugs. drugs cost billions of dollars to state healthcare systems, any factors that might reduce those costs should be considered.Although marijuana is still a controversial drug, the fact that it can help lower drug costs prescription drugs and their dangerous side effects can only be seen as a positive.
Kenna Castleberry is a Debrief Writer and Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado at Boulder and NIST). It focuses on deep technology, metaverse and quantum technology. You can find more of his work on his website: https://kennacastleberry.com/