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Ways Legal Medical Cannabis Benefits Society

A prescription bottle tipped over with dried cannabis buds spilling out onto a surface.

A prescription bottle tipped over with dried cannabis buds spilling out onto a surface.

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As the number of people utilizing marijuana grows, so too does our understanding of its societal benefits. Here are a few of the latest scientific findings:

Patients’ use of all varieties of prescription drugs drops when medical cannabis is an option. Researchers assessed the relationship between medical marijuana legalization laws and physicians’ prescribing patterns in 17 states from 2010–2013. Specifically, they assessed patients’ consumption of and spending on prescription drugs approved under Medicare Part D in nine domains: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity. They reported that pharmaceutical drug use fell significantly in seven of those domains, resulting in an annual savings of $165.2 million in prescription drug spending.

Those with access to cannabis tend to be more active and are less likely to drink alcohol. So argue the authors of a 2015 study published in Health Economics. Investigators at San Diego State University reviewed 12 years of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine the effects of medical marijuana laws on body weight, wellness and exercise.

Increased medical cannabis access is also having a positive impact in the workplace. According to another study published in Health Economics in 2016, full-time employees between the ages of 50 and 59 were 13% less likely to report absences due to illness following medical marijuana legalization. Those ages 40 to 49 were 11% less likely to do so, and those ages 30 to 39 were 16% less likely to report a medical-related absence.

Curious to learn more about these findings?

Mac Jackman