Health Expert Reveals Significant Savings in Health Costs After Cannabis Legalization

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thailandTHC > News > Health Expert Reveals Significant Savings in Health Costs After Cannabis Legalization

Last updated on June 25th, 2024 at 09:44 am

  • Driving The News: Dr. Pattapong Ketsombun from Khon Kaen University revealed that Thailand saw a significant decline in patient visits and health expenditures following the legalization of cannabis.
  • Why It Matters: The reduction in hospital visits and associated costs could highlight the benefits of cannabis legalization for public health and economic efficiency.
  • The Big Picture: Further research is necessary to determine the specific factors contributing to the decline in health service usage and whether cannabis legalization plays a primary role.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – On June 13, Dr. PATTAPONG KETSOMBUN from Khon Kaen University’s Department of Family Medicine shared compelling statistics showing a notable decline in patient visits and health care costs in Thailand following the legalization of cannabis. Data from the Ministry of Public Health between 2021 and 2023 indicate that patient visits to healthcare facilities dropped by 26.7 million, resulting in a cost saving of approximately 19 billion baht.

Dr. Pattapong explained that these figures are derived from online health databases, which reveal a significant decrease in both outpatient visits and inpatient admissions. Specifically, there was a reduction of 13.3 million outpatient visits and a decrease of 36,150 inpatient admissions, leading to 8,091,897 fewer patient bed days.

The cost savings were calculated by multiplying the reduced number of outpatient and inpatient visits by the unit cost of services. This analysis demonstrated substantial financial benefits, particularly when considering data from community hospitals.

Dr. Pattapong noted several factors influencing these trends, including changes in patient behavior and attitudes towards self-treatment, as well as the overall efficiency and accessibility of health services. Importantly, he pointed out that these statistics correspond with the period of cannabis legalization, suggesting a possible link between increased cannabis use and reduced need for conventional medical services.

He advocated for further in-depth research to confirm these findings and identify the specific reasons behind the decline in healthcare usage. “We must explore whether the legalization of cannabis has directly contributed to these reductions in patient visits and health costs,” he said.

The potential implications of this research are significant, highlighting the need for a balanced approach to cannabis policy that considers both its medical benefits and the economic impact on the healthcare system.

Contributing Sources: Daily News