Identifying the Need in the Marketplace
Academic research and international clinical trials continue to show that marijuana is a serious and sought after alternative to a myriad of health conditions including epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and many other well-being issues.
The National Institute for Drug Abuse indicates that “… preliminary studies have suggested that medical marijuana legalization might be associated with decreased prescription opioid use and overdose deaths...” The NIDA reports that scientists are also conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions such as: diseases that affect the immune system, including: HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes gradual loss of muscle control, inflammation, pain, seizures, substance use disorders and mental disorders.
Over the last 3 decades, humans have become increasingly dependent on standard and traditional prescription opioids with some alarming statistics emerging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Presentation, in the United States alone, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.
Overdose is not the only risk related to prescription opioids. Misuse, abuse, and opioid use disorder (addiction) are also potential dangers. In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids. As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
Every day, over 1,000 people in America are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Source
The facts surrounding traditional approaches to well-being and treating illness do not come without costs. In July of 2016, a Huffington Post headline stated; “Study Finds Drop in Prescription Drugs in Medical Marijuana States”. States looking for a way to reduce Medicare spending and prescription drug use may want to turn to legalizing medical marijuana. Source
Dr. David Bradford, School of Public & International Affairs, The University of Georgia.
Medical marijuana is having a positive impact on the bottom line of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in states that have legalized
The District of Columbia and the 17 states that had medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs in 2013 saved an estimated total of $165.2 million in Medicare program and enrolee spending that year, researchers at the University of Georgia reported in the journal Health Affairs. Source
The results suggest that if all US states had implemented medical marijuana, the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million,” a press release on the findings stated.
That is an admittedly small proportion of the multi-billion-dollar program. But the figure is nothing to sneeze at, said W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia and one of the study's authors. "We wouldn't say that saving money is the reason to adopt this. But it should be part of the discussion," he added. "We think it's pretty good indirect evidence that people are using this as medication."