Study: Medical Cannabis Making Inroads in Prescription Drug Market

Medical cannabis has likely made a serious dent in the prescription drug industry – to the tune of $165 million in market share in 2013, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs.

The study’s authors examined prescription information filled by Medicare Part D enrollees between 2010-2013. They looked specifically at ailments that could have been alternatively treated by cannabis, such as depression, anxiety, nausea, pain and glaucoma, Medical News Today reported.

As of 2013, 17 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., had legalized medical marijuana.

The analysis found that during those three years, the use of prescription medication took a nosedive. Daily doses of prescription drugs for pain shrunk by 1,826, for example, while doses for depression went down by 265.

The researchers estimated that the reduced reliance on prescription drugs equated to a savings of $165 million. The findings indicate the money is instead going toward medical cannabis as an alternative treatment.

The same study also estimated that if the entire United States had legalized MMJ in 2013, the populace would have saved $468 million that year on prescription drugs, much of which probably would have gone to cannabis sales.

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4 comments on “Study: Medical Cannabis Making Inroads in Prescription Drug Market
  1. Clif on

    Until there is LEGITIMATE treatment with EVIDENCE BASED OUTCOMES these figures are fantasy. We might as well argue that really good sage cures cancer and could save a trillion dollars. We need to back up and start at the beginning – using legitimate treatment.

    • Mark on

      I don’t use pot myself but I have a great out come for my neighbor across the street who decided to try it. She was diagnosed with non small cell adenocarcinoma stage 4 lung cancer which had also gone in to her lymph nodes. The scans showed many spots in her lungs. The doctors told her that chemotherapy was not an option and that she was going to die in about 6 months and there was little they could do. This was December 2015. I told her that I had heard that cannabis oil was good for certain types of cancer and that she had nothing to lose if the doctors were telling her she was dead in 6 months anyway. She said she had never smoked pot and did not want to get high. Susan is 67 and very stubborn but she decided to start the oil through a company called Prana in January 2016. She swallowed capsules in the morning and the evening. I told her that it might be a good idea to do some chemo too but she said no. Just the oil. She got another PET scan May 2016 and the scan was completely clear. No signs of cancer at all. For me this was more than enough to show me that for Susan’s type of cancer, the cannabis oil works. I don’t need to wait for the pharmaceutical companies to figure it out in 10 years after thousands of people have died needlessly.

  2. Michael Davis on

    I would need to read the whole study to see how the investigators took that decreased prescriptions indicates increased medical cannabis use. The decrease may have been something else such as the patients could not afford the co-pay for the prescriptions or any number of things. If they included an interview or survey but the investigators used data from previous prescription and compared that to failure to fill a prescription.

  3. Saul Immanuel on

    Yeah. Clif called it. This study relies on your ignorance of experiment design and statistical analysis to appear meaningful. Pointless conjecture for the most part. Anyone who draws conclusions about the effectiveness of cannabis as medicine from this study must really need to believe, or must really need cheesy validation of their habits. It’s medicine. We know this. But there is a lot of work to be done before the people who truly need it can benefit from what this plant has to offer. This kind of malinformed cheerleading actually sets that agenda back by making us look desperate and foolish. I mean, the product sales and ad revenue must be amazing. But sick people need more than elaborate, baseless assertions – even peer-reviewed ones – to get well.

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