What Will Marijuana Replace in the Healthcare Industry? – Sponsored Post
Marijuana legalization still continues to be a heated debate, as there continues to be a myriad of questions and uncertainties that come along with it. While many states have approved of the legal use of pot, and many more are expected to follow suit in 2018, there still are numerous efforts thwarting marijuana’s complete acceptance.
Particularly, funding for these anti-legalization efforts come from a number of prison suppliers, casino magnates, and pharmaceutical companies. Apparently, marijuana is expected to create a huge impact on the healthcare industry when it is completely legalized in the future.
Considering the possible benefits of marijuana legalization in terms of patient care, what effect will the legalization of pot really have on healthcare that motivates anti-legalization efforts?
Impact of Medical Marijuana in Healthcare
For years, the government has discouraged the use of marijuana, tagging it as a terrible drug overall. Particularly, in President Obama’s administration, it was stated that the drug “places a significant strain on our health care system” and that “chronic use that begins at a young age can lead to dependence and addiction.”
For many parts of the country, you may even need to pass a urine test or a hair drug test first before possibly landing a job, as marijuana has been linked to a decrease in workplace productivity and even violence in the workplace.
While the use of cannabis can possibly become habit-forming, there are studies that prove that cannabis’ pros outweigh its cons. This may be an unpopular notion in the US, where there are only a few studies conducted related to the medical properties of marijuana.
However, studies from other parts of the world have proven marijuana’s medical benefits especially to patients with cancer, anxiety, epilepsy, and other ailments. In states like Oregon, Colorado, and Washington, where marijuana can be legally used for medical purposes, doctors have been able to keep their patients more comfortable.
Breaking the Lie about Marijuana
One of the major reasons why pot legalization continues to be hampered today is its negative perception of being a gateway drug that leads users to addiction to narcotics and other drugs.
However, medical marijuana continues to challenge this notion by actually aiding people to stay off narcotics and opioids. In fact, a Stat News story reveals that states that have legalized medical marijuana have shown fewer opioid deaths. This gives us the conclusion that marijuana as opioid substitute can be something that anti-legalization organizations can consider looking into.
Contrary to popular belief, the legalization of medical marijuana does not seem to spike an increase in marijuana usage among the youth, particularly in Colorado.
Moreover, there has been no significant increase in traffic fatalities among states that have legalized even the recreational use of marijuana, although it is still not advisable to be under the influence of cannabis when driving.
Lower Health-Care Costs = Lower Profit
With marijuana being used as an affordable treatment in certain parts of the country, it may result to fewer people needing urgent care and specialized treatments. In the future, these people may not even continue to suffer from prolonged illnesses.
This dramatically results to a reduced cost of health care for individuals who embrace the use of medical marijuana. This domino effect will significantly reduce healthcare costs for everyone else in the United States as well. Unfortunately, this is where huge opposition efforts come into the picture.
Today, there is even mounting evidence that reveals the supposed cancer-fighting elements of cannabis—which is bad news for the healthcare industry. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, make insane profits selling medications for cancer and for a myriad of disorders that marijuana is claimed to treat.
In fact, painkiller prescriptions have dropped in several states that legalized the use of medical marijuana. These profits come from hefty prices that are usually too expensive for many patients. If marijuana can be synthesized to be effective treatments for some of these ailments, just think about all the money that can be saved.
Marijuana Legalization on Medical Professionals
Aside from this, pharmacists would most likely need some legal protection from their particular state, as they would be in constant risk of a felony arrest for clearly violating federal laws regarding controlled substances.
Once marijuana is legalized in a certain state, pharmacists may need to be extremely careful not to recommend a specific source of medical marijuana, offer detailed instructions for its use, or secure the drug themselves for the patient’s use.
Other medical professionals, including physicians, may also be affected by the legalization of marijuana. Physicians will then need to provide an official written evidence of therapeutic need. Since the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, doctors will technically not be able to “prescribe” its use, but only “recommend” it or take it into consideration.
It is also important to note that insurance plans will not cover medical marijuana, which means that patients need to pay out of pocket to use it. This may also put a strain to insurance companies and their profits.
These adjustments, together with the expected decline of profit on the healthcare industry’s end, may be thwarting several states to consider the legalization of marijuana altogether.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
To put it simply, the legalization of marijuana has little benefit for the healthcare industry in terms of business, yet greatly advantageous for patients who can make good use of its medical properties.
Furthermore, if people are using marijuana as a replacement for more dangerous substances such as alcohol, this could be an added benefit to public health.
Considering that pot is cheaper than other drugs, the cost curve in patient care will surely bend if medical marijuana becomes a regular part of healthcare on a national scale, and this should be good news if it directly benefits the general public.
Although it can sometimes still illicit questions within the medical practice, truly, marijuana legalization will redefine the face of the healthcare industry in more ways than one.