The latest in a string of studies to demonstrate a link between medical marijuana legalization and lower opioid use rates has just been released.
"In this study, we found that statewide medical cannabis legalization implemented in 1993 - 2014 in the U.S. was associated with close to 30-percent reductions in Schedule III opioids received by Medicaid enrollees," the researchers, from the University of California San Diego and Weill Cornell Medical College, wrote in the journal Addiction.
Calculating the cost of opioid pain drugs that patients would have otherwise purchased, the study estimated that medical cannabis legalization in states that have so far adopted it saves the federal government $7.46 million in annual Medicaid spending. Add to that an additional $6.54 million in savings for states.
"[I]f all the states had legalized medical cannabis by 2014, Medicaid annual spending on opioid prescriptions would be reduced by 17.8 million dollars," the study projected.
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