U.S. taxpayers could save more than a billion dollars on prescription drugs every year if all 50 states passed medical marijuana legislation, according to a new study.

The study by University of Georgia researchers – published in the journal Health Affairs – compared 2014 Medicaid prescription drug spending in states where medical marijuana is legal to states where it isn’t.  

The findings revealed “statistically and economically meaningful reductions in prescription drug use” in states with medical marijuana laws.  

Study authors (and father-daughter team) David Bradford and Ashley Bradford wrote that the results of the study show that “patients and physicians in the community are reacting to the availability of medical marijuana as if it were medicine.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed Medicaid prescription drug spending across the country from 2007 to 2014, paying particular attention to drugs that are used to treat ailments “for which marijuana might be a potential alternative treatment.”

[DisplayAd]

In states with legalized medical marijuana, the number of pharmaceutical prescriptions for anti-depressants fell by 13 percent. Prescriptions for nausea drugs fell 17 percent, those for psychosis medications fell 12 percent, and those for pain pills fell 11 percent.

The Bradfords concluded that if all 50 states had medical marijuana laws in 2014, overall Medicaid spending would have been down $1.01 billion. They say this research “adds to the literature that shows the potential clinical benefits of marijuana.”

We say: keep it coming. 

h/t VICE News