Tag: Studies

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Linked to Lower Medicaid Costs

(Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators at the University of Georgia assessed the association between medical cannabis regulations and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries between the years 2007 and 2014.

Researchers reported, “[T]he use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied.”

They added, “If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion.”

The findings are similar to those previously published by the team which reported that medical cannabis access was associated with significantly reduced spending by patients on Medicare Part D approved prescription drugs.

Separate studies have reported that patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their intake of opioids, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, migraine-related medications, and sleep aids, among other substances.

An abstract of the study, “Medical marijuana laws may be associated with a decline in the number of prescriptions for medicaid enrollees,” appears here.

Tags: , , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Patients With Access to Medical Marijuana Reduce Their Use of Opioids, Study Finds

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Patients registered to use medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

Investigators assessed the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month period among patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program compared to similar patients who were not.

They reported that subjects with access to medical cannabis reduced their use of opioids by 31 percent while those not in the program experienced a slight increase in opioid use over this same time period.

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that patients with cannabis access reduce their use of prescription medications.

Separate studies further report lower rates of opioid misuse and mortality in jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legally permitted.

Tags: ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Feds Still Jail More People for Cannabis Than Heroin

According to data released this week by the US Sentencing Commission, the number of people sentenced for federal cannabis-related crimes has dropped for the fifth year in a row. Federal prosecutors are still jailing more people for cannabis-related crimes than heroin-related ones, however, despite radical disparities in harm caused by the two substances.

Heroin-related overdose deaths in the United States have more than quadrupled since 2010. 2014 was especially deadly: The number of heroin-related deaths was the highest number of drug overdose deaths on record, climbing to nearly 50,000 in just a single year.

The number of deaths directly attributed to cannabis remains at zero.

RELATED STORY

How Cannabis Could Turn the Opioid Epidemic Around

According to the sentencing report, 3,534 people were sentenced in federal courts for cannabis crimes. That fell behind sentencing numbers for only two other substances: methamphetamine, with more than 6,000 people sentenced, and powder cocaine, with 3,891.

The report included five specifically identified substances and one “other” category.

On the upside, the data show a sharp decline in federal cannabis crimes, which set in shortly after Colorado and Washington voted to end prohibition, in 2012. In 2011, there were around 7,000 federal arrests related to cannabis. After legalization went through in those two states, the annual number fell to 4,942. It now sits at 3,534.

Over at the Washington Post, they’ve captured the federal data in this at-a-glance graph:

drugsimage


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: CBD-Dominant Cannabis Extracts Reduce Seizure Frequency

FALMOUTH, ME —  The administration of whole-plant cannabis extracts rich in the cannabinoid cannabidol (CBD) is associated with reduced seizure frequency in patients with refractory epilepsy, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Researchers performed a retrospective chart review of the clinical records of 272 patients who were taking whole-plant CBD extracts.

Eighty-six percent of those treated observed some clinical benefit (a reduction in seizure frequency) while ten percent experienced a complete clinical response. The remaining patients were either not responsive to treatment or reported an exacerbation of seizures during therapy.

Beneficial side effects, such as improved mood, better sleep quality, and increased appetite were reported.

“The cannabinoids’ novel mechanisms of action are an attractive consideration for possible seizure control,” authors concluded. “In patients with refractory epilepsy that have a low likelihood of responding to a subsequent AED (anti-epileptic drug), a trial of artisanal cannabis formulas may be indicated.”

Tags: ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated with Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

SAN DIEGO, CA — The enactment of statewide legislation permitting medical cannabis access by qualified patients is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalization, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego assessed the association between medical cannabis laws and hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers. The author reported both immediate and longer-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

“This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. … We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year.”

The author also dismissed contentions that liberalized marijuana laws were associated with any subsequent increase in marijuana-related hospital admissions, concluding: “While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations.”

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse, mortality, and prescription drug spending.

Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana policies and hospitalizations related to marijuana and opioid pain reliever,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Tags: , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Marijuana Use Stable In Colorado Post-Legalization

DENVER, CO — The percentage of Coloradoans who report using cannabis has remained relatively unchanged following the regulation of the adult use market, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Researchers at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reviewed statewide marijuana use data from January 1, 2014.

They reported:

“[M]arijuana use, both among adults and among youth, does not appear to be increasing to date. No change was observed in past 30-day marijuana use among adults between 2014 (13.6 percent) and 2015 (13.4 percent). Similarly, there was no statistically significant change in 30-day or lifetime marijuana use among high school students between 2013 (lifetime: 36.9 percent, 30-day: 19.7 percent) and 2015 (lifetime: 38.0 percent, 30-day: 21.2 percent).”

The findings are similar to those from the state of Washington and elsewhere reporting that changes in statewide marijuana laws are not associated with an increase in cannabis use by young people.

Researchers also reported that Coloradoans were most likely to consume cannabis by smoking it (83 percent) as opposed to consuming edibles or vaporizing it – a finding that is consistent with national trends.

Full text of the study, “Lessons learned after three years of legalized, recreational marijuana: The Colorado experience,” appears in Preventive Medicine.

Tags: , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Medical Marijuana Legalization Does Not Lead to Crime Increase

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — The enactment of US laws regulating the sale and use of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with any uptick in the rate of violent crime or property crime, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of Victoria and the Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Institute in New Zealand.

Investigators analyzed FBI crime data from the years 1988 to 2013 to assess the potential impact of medical marijuana legalization schemes on rates of murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, burglary, and larceny. Researchers reported that neither the establishment of dispensaries or an increase in adult marijuana use was associated with adverse outcomes on crime.

“We do not find evidence that medical marijuana laws consistently affect violent and property crime,” authors concluded. “Our results suggest that liberalization of marijuana laws is unlikely to result in the substantial social cost that some politicians clearly fear.”

The findings are similar to previous reviews. For example, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reported that the proliferation of medical cannabis dispensaries was not associated with any demonstrable increase in violent crime or property crime. A 2014 study published in the journal PLoS One reported that the legalization of medical marijuana was associated with a decrease in incidences of certain types of violent crime, such as homicide and assault.

Full text of the study, “Joint culpability: The effects of medical marijuana laws on crime,” appears online.

Tags: , , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Long Term Marijuana Use Doesn’t Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

BETHESDA, MD — Those who consume cannabis long-term suffer no greater likelihood of cardiovascular disease by middle age than do those with no history of use, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

An international team of researchers from the United States and Switzerland assessed cumulative cannabis use and cardiovascular risk in a cohort of over 5,000 subjects over a period of more than two decades. Authors reported, “Compared with no marijuana use, cumulative lifetime and recent marijuana use showed no association with incident CVD (cardiovascular disease), stroke or transient ischemic attacks, coronary heart disease, or CVD mortality.”

They concluded, “In this community-based cohort of young adults followed for more than 25 years, we found no evidence to suggest that cumulative lifetime or recent marijuana use, at levels typical of most recreational, occasional users of marijuana in the United States, affects risk of future CVD events through middle age.”

The findings are consistent with those of other studies, such as those here, here, here, and here, which also report that the use of cannabis alone is not an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease at mid-life.

Full text of the study, “Cumulative lifetime marijuana use and incident of cardiovascular disease in middle age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

Tags: , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Medical Marijuana Patients Reduce Their Use of Opioids

VICTORIA, BC — Patients with legal access to medical cannabis reduce their use of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription drugs, according to data published online ahead of print in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Researchers at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of 277 patients registered in the Canadian government’s medical marijuana program.

Sixty-three percent of the respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription medications. Patients were most likely to report using cannabis in lieu of opioids (32 percent).

Patients also reported using cannabis in place of benzodiazepines (16 percent) and anti-depressants (12 percent).

Respondents were most likely to reduce their use of prescription medications because they believed that cannabis posed fewer adverse side effects. Respondents also reported that “cannabis is safer” than prescription alternatives and that it provides “better symptom management.”

Authors concluded:

“The finding that patients using cannabis to treat pain-related conditions have a higher rate of substitution for opioids, and that patients self-reporting mental health issues have a higher rate of substitution for benzodiazepines and antidepressants has significant public health implications. In light of the growing rate of morbidity and mortality associated with these prescription medications, cannabis could play a significant role in reducing the health burden of problematic prescription drug use.”

The study’s conclusions are consistent with those of prior reports finding that patients with legal access to cannabis spend less money on conventional prescription drugs, and are less likely to use or abuse opioids.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients,” appears in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Tags: , , , , ,


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Cannabis Extract Associated with Improved Survival Rates in Glioma Patients

Glioma in the left parietal lobe (brain CT scan), WHO grade 2. (Wikimedia/Mikhail Kalinin)

LONDON — Brain tumor patients treated with cannabis extracts possessed increased one-year survival rates compared to those who went untreated, according to clinical trial data reported this week by British biotechnology firm GW Pharmaceuticals.

Twenty-one patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and who were undergoing conventional anti-cancer treatment participated in the study. Patients received either a proprietary cannabis extract containing a combination of THC and CBD or a placebo.

“[P]atients with documented recurrent GBM treated with THC:CBD had an 83 percent one year survival rate compared with 53 percent for patients in the placebo cohort,” the company summarized in a press release. “Median survival for the THC:CBD group was greater than 550 days compared with 369 days in the placebo group.”

The study’s findings replicate preclinical data demonstrating that the adjunctive use of cannabinoids with temozolomide may be associated with greater anti-cancer activity than the use of conventional therapy alone.

Glioblastoma multiforme is an especially aggressive form of cancer, with only 28 percent of patients surviving one year and fewer than four percent surviving five years.

For more information on the potential anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids, please see: http://norml.org/library/item/gliomascancer.

Tags:


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.