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Legal Marijuana Lowers Demand For This, New Research Shows

The study marks one of the first to examine the impact of legal marijuana on prescription drugs.

Legal marijuana has a significant impact on prescription drug use, which shouldn’t come a as a surprise to anyone who understands the plant’s affect on pain and other ailments. According to results of a new study, legal marijuana reduces the demand for prescription drugs through state Medicaid programs.

The data was collected by researchers from Cornell University between 2011-2019, a time  when marijuana started to earn its legal status in several states. The prescription drugs that experienced the biggest change in demand include those that target pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis, and more.

RELATED: Medical Marijuana Not Always An Affordable Alternative To Prescription Drugs

New Mexico Legalized Recreational Marijuana Leaving Medical Marijuana Patients Struggling To Find Product
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The research, published in the journal Health Economics, marks one of the first studies to examine the impact of legal marijuana on prescription drugs.

“These results have important implications,” said study author Shyam Raman. “The reductions in drug utilization that we find could lead to significant cost savings for state Medicaid programs. The results also indicate an opportunity to reduce the harm that can come with the dangerous side effects associated with some prescription drugs.”

RELATED: Driving High On Marijuana Might Not Be As Dangerous As Prescription Drugs

More research is needed on this topic, but marijuana’s ability to curb prescription drug use has long been a source of interest for proponents of the drug, who theorize that cannabis provides an opening for treating a variety of conditions with a more natural approach, eliminating the negative side effects associated with these medications.

Currently, 37 states have medical marijuana programs in place, while 18 allow for recreational marijuana.

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