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Study: Frequent Marijuana Consumers Not More Likely To Access Health Care Services

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 9, 2016

    pain_reliefMarijuana consumers do not access health care services at rates that are higher than non-users, according to data published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.

    Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin assessed the relationship between marijuana use and health care utilization in a nationally representative sample of 174,159,864 US adults aged 18 to 59 years old.

    Authors reported “no significant increase in outpatient health care visits and overnight hospital admissions in marijuana users compared to non-users.” They also reported that those who consumed cannabis multiple times per day were no more likely to seek health care patient services as compared to those who used the substance less frequently.

    They concluded, “[C]ontrary to popular belief, … marijuana use is not associated with increased healthcare utilization, [and] there [is] also no association between health care utilization and frequency of marijuana use.”

    A previous assessment, published in 2014 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, similarly reported that the use of marijuana within the past three months was not associated with adverse effects on health, comorbidity, ER visits, or hospitalization.

    An abstract of the study, “Marijuana users do not have increased healthcare utilization: A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study,” appears here.

    8 Responses to “Study: Frequent Marijuana Consumers Not More Likely To Access Health Care Services”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:

      There is literally no end to the list of horrible, terrible things that using marijuana DOES NOT do… from murder, rape, and pillage, to apathy and impotence, the list is virtually infinite.

      Kinda reminds me of the smear tactic where someone makes a comment about a co-worker: “Say, Bob has come to work sober every single day this week!” While the observation may be technically accurate, it is also misleading, in that it suggests that Bob usually comes to work drunk.

      Likewise, who’s suggesting that marijuana users are winding up in the hospital, anyway? Oh yeah, Reefer Madness; right, right, right….

      I guess cannabis has been accused of just about every evil thing you can think of, hasn’t it? So now we have to painstakingly go through the science, to prove all the awful things that cannabis DOESN’T DO.

      Like Jon Stewart says, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance.

      So: Marijuana use does not lead to an increase in health care services. Good to know.

    2. Mark Mitcham says:

      I’m also glad to know about yet another nasty thing with which cannabis does NOT correlate: comorbidity.

      I’ll admit, I had to look up the term. It means having two, unrelated illness at the same time, in the same person. And apparently, it’s a “thing” with the folks over at NIDA, who have never been able to acknowledge the distinction between marijuana use (medical or recreational or religious or whatever) and marijuana abuse (whatever the hell that is supposed to be.)

      Yet another clean bill of health for cannabis.

    3. Miles says:

      I can vouch for this assessment based on personal usage. At age 60 I have had zero marijuana related problems. As I enter my golden years my current major medical problem is that I have contracted Lyme Disease. Some speculate that Lyme may have been created in a Military Biological Warfare Lab… Great…

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        I’m sorry to hear about your illness, and wish you well. I’ve been reading your comments for awhile now, you are conscientious and socially responsible. I understand you are also a Marine veteran. It’s great having you in the conversation!

        • Miles says:

          Thank you for your comment. I am a great believer in freedom and justice. It truly pains me that so many of America’s lawmakers don’t seem to share that belief.

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      I know a young guy who smokes indica all day long. He’s a personal trainer. He’s in great shape with a good work ethic.

    5. Julian says:

      Ok, I give in; marijuana deserves the title of panacea. It is safe treatment and nourishment for our cannabinoid deficiencies and I will go so far to say that our coevolution with cannabis and its intimate relationship with our endocannabinoid system deems any patent or prohibition of cannabis a threat to the health and security of all human beings on earth, as these unconstitutional patents and prohibitions are on ourselves.

    6. Julian says:

      Watching marijuana legalize state to state is as amazing as if the book of revelations opened up and was calling judgement on all the vulture investors in a medical system built on profit over health… albeit rather slowly, we are forced to reckon that a pharmaceutical patent for profit model is killing us. Through marijuana legalization the veil is lifted on private insurance companies who scramble to set the cost of a parasitic “health” system that is bent on keeping people unhealthy and unable to negotiate the cost of our own care with the doctors because we pay insurance, not them. In all the outreach of the Affordable Care Act, it does nothing to address this problem, only provides more access to the same rigged system.
      Legalized marijuana cuts to the heart of the predatory costs of real health care, often cutting out the middle man predator itself; private insurance. This is one of our biggest hurdles yet but our ultimate goal through legalization; to allow nurse practitioners to provide herbal remedies door to door under a single payer health system. To put marijuana back in the tool box of herbal medicine frim a time when we used to call “house calls,” something a doctor did and not a prostitute. Where the patient and the doctor determine the cost of medicine and service, not some private insurance broker sitting at a desk we’ll never see.
      Its sad that in order to get there, to full federal marijuana legalization with door to door service, for the time being, the hold private insurance has on the Republican party and trial lawyers on the Democratic party is so great we will have to call real doctors “nurse practitioners” and real medicine “herbal remedies.”

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