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Medical Marijuana Laws Linked To Health and Labor Supply Benefits in Older Adults

FINDINGS SHOW THAT PAIN DECLINES, ASSESSMENTS OF HEALTH IMPROVE AND AMERICANS REMAIN IN THE WORKFORCE A study that examined older Americans’ well-being before and after medical marijuana laws were passed in their state found reductions in reported pain and increased hours worked.

The study, co-written by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Temple University, suggests medical marijuana laws could be improving older Americans’ health.

Researchers found a 4.8 percent decrease in reported pain and a 6.6 percentincrease in reported very good or excellent health among respondents with ahealth condition that would qualify for medical marijuana after their statespassed medical marijuana laws relative to similar respondents whose states didnot pass a law.

“Our study is important because of the limited availability of clinical trial data onthe effects of medical marijuana,” says Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, assistantprofessor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy andManagement.

“While several studies point to improved pain control with medical marijuana, research has largely ignored older adults even though they experience thehighest rates of medical issues that could be treated with medical marijuana.” Medical marijuana remains controversial as national support for it surges.

The analysis used 100,921 participant responses that represented individualswith one or more of four health conditions that would qualify for medicalmarijuana treatment under most state laws.

In the sample that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment, the researchers found a greater increase in full-time work after medical marijuana laws were passed.

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