New research on legalization of medical marijuana

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    This week, research found that states in the U.S. that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.

    Because the prescriptions for drugs like opioid painkillers and antidepressants, and associated Medicare spending on those drugs, fell in states where marijuana could feasibly be used as a replacement, the researchers said it appears likely legalization led to a drop in prescriptions. That point, they said, is strengthened because prescriptions didn’t drop for medicines such as blood-thinners, for which marijuana isn’t an alternative.

    One of the study’s authors, W. David Bradford, said, “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.”

    If the trend bears out, it could have other public health ramifications. In states that legalized medical uses of marijuana, painkiller prescriptions dropped — on average, the study found, by about 1,800 daily doses filled each year per doctor. That tracks with other research on the subject.

    This research has had ramifications in Costa Rica as well. With the upcoming Latin American Medical Cannabis Conference in San Jose July 28-29, people are talking about alternative forms of medicine now more than ever.

    TD Morales, of the Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica states: “As more and more countries around the world have realized the benefits of passing medical cannabis legislation, the cannabis industry is experiencing increased interest and growth. Medical cannabis science has been proven to help with many health problems, with the added economic benefits of new jobs, new tax revenue, and less costly healthcare costs for the countries with legal medical cannabis. This conference is a way for doctors, government officials, and business people to get a real understanding of the many facets of this industry. We hope they will take advantage of this opportunity to learn from the experts.”

    Limited space is available at the conference. More information and conference registration is available here.

    The Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica is not affiliated with any US or other organizations.

    PROMED: PROMED, the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine will host the Latin America Medical Cannabis Conference in Costa Rican on July 27-29th as part of ExpoMed series. PROMED is a private not-for-profit organization, which coordinates the quality control and international promotion efforts of the medical tourism industry. Its goal is to ensure the quality of services provided by the private health industry in Costa Rica as the country becomes a major center for global medicine and medical tourism.

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