The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine recently published "Effects of Legal Access to Cannabis on Scheduled II–V Drug Prescriptions" and found that the use of medical cannabis (MMJ) reduces the use of potentially "dangerous" prescription drugs. For the study, researchers observed 83 chronic pain patients who enrolled in MMJ programs between 2010 and 2015, tracking their prescription drug use from six months before starting an MMJ program to 18 months after. At the same time, the researchers tracked 42 non-enrolled patients who served as the control group.
You'll never guess what happened! Actually, you probably can if you're familiar with all the other recent studies. During the final six months of the observation period, one person in the control group stopped using all prescription medications, while 28 MMJ patients had. In other words, the MMJ patients were 17 times more likely to ditch all of their pharmaceuticals. These were pain patients, so it's safe to assume that many of the scheduled drugs were opioid painkillers.
Furthermore, the study found no difference in prescription drug use in either group during the six-month period before enrollment. The MMJ patients only started ditching their pharmaceuticals after they enrolled in an MMJ program. Once enrolled, the patients demonstrated a "statistically significant" reduction in prescription drug use, whereas the control group on average did not reduce its use.
Per the researchers, "Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations."