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Recently researchers crunched Medicare prescription drug spending data from 2010-2013 to understand and quantify the impact medical cannabis has on both individual patient prescription drug intake and overall Medicare spending. To the shock and awe of anti-cannabis proponents everywhere, this research proves medical cannabis to be a gateway to a lower drug intake, turning the classic gateway theory on its head.

Less prescriptions were filled for medical conditions typically known to benefit from medical cannabis, clear proof that patients are getting real relief via medical cannabis in place of their previous pharmaceutical options.

Amazingly in just 2013 alone Medicare Part D saved a whopping $165 million! The savings came from a drop in prescriptions written for eight out of nine medical conditions reviewed by the researchers for which medical cannabis “might serve as an alternative treatment.” The categories included “anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity.” Out of all the conditions listed, prescriptions for pain medications fell the greatest at 11.5%.

In addition, significant drops were also measured in categories for depression and seizures. In total the researchers looked at 87 million prescriptions written and their results clearly show that patients are replacing pharmaceuticals with medical cannabis and getting the results they need.

This is not the only indication that medical cannabis can replace classic pharmaceutical options. A recent Israeli study showed cannabis to be beneficial in helping seniors reduce the number of prescriptions they take daily. Specifically of the seniors studied “72 percent of participants were able to reduce their drug intake by an average of 1.7 medications a day.”

Furthermore workers at the home observed “almost all patients reported an increase in sleeping hours and a decrease in nightmares and PTSD-related flashbacks.” This is good news for both patients and insurance companies alike! These two studies are both clear indications that there is a huge potential hidden underneath the negative stigma of Reefer Madness-like hysteria about medical cannabis. The sun is rising on a new day for medical cannabis, and soon patients nationwide will be able to choose a new option for their treatment.

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