A 2017 study by researchers shows a reduction in Medicaid prescriptions filled for various ailments in states where medical marijuana is legal or available.
Prescriptions for the following conditions were reduced significantly for five out of nine ailments studied:
- Depression – 13% reduction
- Nausea – 17% reduction
- Psychosis – 12% reduction
- Seizure disorders – 12% reduction
- Pain – 11% reduction
No significant reduction was found in prescription refill rates for anxiety, glaucoma, sleep disorders or spasticity.
This study shows only that prescription fills and refills were effected as described above. This does not indicate whether medical cannabis is effective
for such conditions or not. Further studies will show effectiveness for symptoms of various ailments.
The study does show however projected savings in Medicaid expenditures, using Medicaid data from 2007 – 2014.
“To put our findings in perspective, we estimated total spending reductions for Medicaid resulting from states’ having medical marijuana laws for each year of our study period (Exhibit 2). Total estimated Medicaid savings associated with these laws ranged from $260.8 million in 2007 to $475.8 million in 2014. Given that total spending observed in the fee-for service Medicaid State Drug Utilization Data for 2014 was just under $23.9 billion, the observed savings related to the laws were equivalent to about 2 percent of the total spending. If all states had had a medical marijuana law in place in 2014, the national savings for fee-for-service Medicaid would have been approximately $1.01 billion. That is the average state savings in 2014 of $19.825 million for the twenty-three states (and the District of Columbia) that had approved medical marijuana laws by that year, extrapolated to all fifty states and the District of Columbia.”
You can read the full research report by Bradford and Bradford here: http://komornlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bradford2017.pdf.