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420 with CNW — Health Insurance Premiums Lower in US Jurisdictions with Medical Marijuana

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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A recent International Journal of Drug Policy study has found that U.S. states with medical marijuana programs have seen major reductions in health insurance premiums. Compared to states without legal medical marijuana, the study observed that people in states with medical marijuana are paying lower insurance premiums.

Analysis of 10 years’ worth of National Association of Insurance Commissioners private health insurance data revealed that once a state legalized medical marijuana sales, health insurance premiums “dropped dramatically.”

Although the premium reductions were modest after the implementation of medical marijuana laws, yearly health insurance premiums in states with medical marijuana markets fell by $1,663 seven years after implementation, $1,542 eight years later, and $1,626 nine years later.

The researchers noted that although the reduction in health insurance premiums typically did not start until seven years after medical marijuana implementation, states with such programs eventually saw a “significant and sizable reduction” in premiums. The scientists specifically looked at individual private health plans instead of Medicaid or employee-sponsored insurance plans.

In addition, the research team only considered states with medical cannabis markets and excluded any analysis from states with both medical and recreational markets while using states without medical cannabis markets or those that hadn’t implemented already-passed medical cannabis policies as controls. Interestingly, the team found that states which adopted medical marijuana early have seen declines in private health insurance premiums from years three through nine after implementation while mid-adopting states saw an attenuated effect on health insurance premiums after the third year of implementation.

Furthermore, the researchers said that the nature of community rating and insurance pooling made it so that the savings derived from medical marijuana legalizations benefitted both marijuana users and nonusers. Alluding to cannabis reform critics who said legalizing cannabis could potentially result in an increase in healthcare costs, the researchers said that concerns about cannabis reform increasing the burden on healthcare were unfounded.

America’s state-legal cannabis industry now stretches across dozens of states and grants millions of Americans access to medical cannabis. Many people use cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals to treat conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

Furthermore, medical marijuana programs allow patients with one or more of more than 20 qualifying conditions to use medical cannabis, often as an alternative to prescription medications. The list cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, severe nausea, chronic pain, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), muscle spasms, appetite loss, multiple sclerosis (MS) and HIV/AIDS.

This research depicting reductions in health insurance premiums is testament to the medical potential that marijuana possesses. It is therefore no wonder that companies are focused on developing FDA-grade pharmaceutical formulations from marijuana in order to treat different conditions, such as chronic pain.

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