Medicare recipients’ use of medical marijuana


Ashley Bradford and David Bradford report that Medicare prescription drug spending declined substantially across a range of medications in states that legalized medical marijuana (Jul 2016). The authors conclude that “patients respond to medical marijuana legislation as if there are clinical benefits to the drug.”

This conclusion rests on the ecological fallacy—that is, assuming homogeneity in correlations across the individual and population levels of analysis. 1 The only compelling way to assess the impact of medical marijuana on individual Medicare recipients is to analyze individual-level data.
Theodore L. Caputi
Theodore L. Caputi
Economics & Health Researcher

My research interests include public health, health innovation, and health care.