It’s no secret that medical marijuana helps a lot of people with a wide variety of illnesses and conditions. It’s great for mental health and physical health, and it makes people feel great. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that medicare prescriptions costs are lower in states which offer access to medical marijuana. This has actually long been a fear of pharmaceutical companies – that medical marijuana would make many of their expensive drugs somewhat obsolete. It’s clear that in states with MMJ, the common abbreviation for medical marijuana, doctors and prescribing authorities prefer to give out scrips for the natural herb rather than prescription pills which could have nasty side effects that go far beyond the munchies.
Some of the key medications that have seen a reduction in usage in these states include opioid painkillers and antidepressants. This data actually helps to make the link between marijuana and lower prescription costs because usage of medicines for conditions that MMJ can not help have remained the same. The study estimates that MMJ is saving Medicare $165.2 million per year, and that is with only half of US states offering medical marijuana as a possible alternative to prescription drugs. Analysts believe that if the country went ahead and legalized marijuana completely, Medicare would save more than $450 million!
While MMJ does save Medicare some money, insurance doesn’t cover it, so patients are often forced to spend a lot of money on it, with some patients spending more than $1000 per month to keep symptoms like nausea, depression, seizures and sleeping problems in check. In order for pot to be covered under insurance programs, the US government would have to move it from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II. Then companies could start doing clinical trials that would prove the medicinal effects of weed and soon after you could buy weed with a scrip from the drug store.