The Real Reason Big Pharma Wants To Stop Legal Weed
It's all about the Benjamin's, baby.
Published on July 14, 2016

Research is beginning to empirically demonstrate that in states with medical marijuana, painkiller abuse is lowest.

Big Pharma knows this, and they’re frightened.

A study published in the journal Health Affairs provides evidence that medical marijuana equates to fewer painkiller overdoses, as well as fewer prescriptions of various western medicines.

Ashley and W. David Bradford, daughter and father researchers at University of Georgia, found that in 17 states with medical marijuana laws by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs declined compared to non-medical marijuana states. "This provides strong evidence that the observed shifts in prescribing patterns were in fact due to the passage of the medical marijuana laws," the researchers stated.

Doctors on average prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants annually, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer anti-anxiety medication doses. The physician on average prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers per year.

They concluded: "Our findings and existing clinical literature imply that patients respond to medical marijuana legislation as if there are clinical benefits to the drug, which adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the Schedule 1 status of marijuana is outdated.”

Ashley Bradford penned in a press release: "The results suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes."

Pharmaceutical companies have longed opposed marijuana reform. For instance, they fund anti-pot research and give money to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

After the Department of Health and Human Services recommended THC be rescheduled to a less restrictive category, enabling research and prescription, one drug company wrote the Drug Enforcement Administration to express concern about "the abuse potential in terms of the need to grow and cultivate substantial crops of marijuana in the United States."

The DEA rejected the HHS recommendation. The researchers determined Medicare saved approximately $165 million in the 17 marijuana states in 2013.

The father daughter researchers estimated nearly half a billion dollars would be saved if all 50 states had similar medical marijuana programs.

Justin O'Connell
Justin is a California-based writer who covers music, cannabis, craft beer, Baja California, science and technology. His writing has appeared in VICE and the San Diego Reader.
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