This article was originally published Marijuana.com
By Monterey Bud
Saving Medicare approximately $165 million in 2013, NPR is reporting that states which have embraced medical marijuana have witnessed a dramatic decline in Medicare part D spending – eliminating the need for many of today’s addictive opioid-based prescriptions.
Citing a study first published in Health Affairs, NPR extrapolated those current savings: “if medical marijuana were available nationwide, Medicare Part D spending would have declined in the same year by about $470 million.” And no doubt, saving countless lives.
As the DEA contemplates whether or not to reschedule marijuana based on its potential medicinal value, those states that have already legalized medicinal cannabis have witnessed a dramatic decline in prescriptions written for antidepressants and painkillers; dropping by approximately 1,800 daily doses.
“The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of prescriptions dropped for drugs to treat anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended.”
Thanks to the infinite hypocrisy of our federal government, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic while holding a patent on the plant’s cannabinoids, physicians in MMJ states are restricted from prescribing medicinal cannabis; However, they can write a recommendation for it. As such, insurance plans are currently unable to cover the cost – at least for now.
“If the DEA made marijuana a Schedule II drug, the move would put it in the company of drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, making it easier for doctors to prescribe and more likely that insurance would cover it.”
While recreational pot smokers, patients, and scientists sit on the political sideline of the rescheduling debate, anxiously waiting for the feds to wake up and remove cannabis from its restrictive classification, many of today’s forward-thinking politicians are pressing the DEA to reschedule marijuana now.