Talk about a herbal medicine!
In order to keep the drug hidden, medical benefits of using cannabis were stymied rather than publicized.
According to Dale Gieringer of PHD, pharmaceutical supplies of cannabis indica were entirely imported from India and sometimes Madagascar. By 1918, roughly 60,000 pounds was being produced by the federal government annually, mostly on pharmaceutical plants east of the Mississippi River.
The Bureau of Narcotics was urged in 1936 by the federal government to limit what it considered the widespread use of the drug. In the same year, the propaganda film Reefer Madness highlighted a negative perception of cannabis in the public psyche.
According to the American Medial Association, marijuana was removed from the US Pharmacopeia by 1942.
In 1951, the Boggs Act established minimum prison terms for simple possession, and the laws just became less restrictive.
Fast forward to 2022, and the research is now demonstrating the most effective benefits of cannabis.
A new study published in the Journal of Health Economics demonstrates that the promulgation of marijuana legalization laws on adult use is linked to a reduction in demand for prescription drugs.
Researchers conducted a survey of trends in Medicaid prescriptions in all 50 states between 2011 and 2019, determining significant improvements in the volume of prescriptions within the therapeutic regimens that align with the medical indications for pain, depression, anxiety, sleep, psychosis, and seizures, in states that had approved legalization versus those that did not.
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38 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical cannabis laws (MCL) since 1996. In 2022, 18 states and DC have passed recreational cannabis laws (RCL).
Self-reported cannabis usage increased by 5% following the publication of MCL, a 13% increase following RCL, and a 25% increase following RCL with active dispensaries.
Medicaid beneficiaries in countries with RCL decreased prescriptions for depression by 11.1%, for anxiety by 12.2%, for pain by 8%, for seizures by 9.5%, for psychosis by 10.7%, and for sleep by 10.8%.
"These results have huge implications. We find that reduced drug use provide information about potential state Medicaid programs'' cost savings," says the authors. Researchers from the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and an Indiana University doctoral student.
The authors note the limitations of their findings. Since the data is collected from the state level, the researchers can not examine how these findings may differ depending on patient or demographic characteristics.
The authors understand that they cannot''t speak on whether individual patients are attempting to substitue pharmaceuticals to cannabis.
"We must also look at the possibility that an increase in people using cannabis to treat their medical difficulties might have the unplanned consequences of creating more distance between them," the authors said.
Regardless of the true origin, the data from this decade-long study will likely lead to further research.
Correlation does not equal causation, but if evidence shows that RCLs save states money on their Medicaid payments, then that is just another reason to legalize cannabis after decades of negative propaganda.