Nationwide medical marijuana legalization could save roughly 47,500 American lives every year, according to a new study from the University of Indiana (IU).

IU researchers looked at studies published since 2000, seeking information on the effects of cannabis on potentially fatal diseases and mortality in America.  

“The effects of Cannabis use on mortality from effects on organ systems and disease states considered most likely to be influenced by cannabis were investigated,” reads the study, led Dr. Thomas M. Clark.

“These were cancer, appetite and metabolism, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, lung disease, and brain injury. Then, data on changes in mortality rates or harmful behaviors following legalization of medical marijuana were sought and analyzed.”

In all, researchers looked at the impact of cannabis on obesity; cancer; diabetes mellitus; cardiovascular disease; lung disease; liver disease; traumatic brain injury; neurodegenerative/neuroinflammatory diseases; opioid overdoses; alcohol consumption; and driving.

Researchers concluded that prohibition is as detrimental to the American public as drunk driving, homicide, or opioid overdoses.

“Cannabis use appears to prevent approximately 17,400 to 38,500 premature deaths annually,” reads the study.