Cannabis vs Traditional Prescription Medications

Cannabis vs Traditional Prescription Medications

Prescription medications, such as depressants and opioids, are commonly known to be addictive, and detrimental to one’s health. Prescription medications may cause severe damage to internal organs after repeated use. Excessive intake may also prove to be life-threatening. Presently, the worry over the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse has driven physicians and experts to reconsider the medications prescribed to patients.

Emerging data suggests that cannabis is becoming a substitute for prescription medications for a variety of conditions including pain, depression, and nausea. In fact, data suggests that the reliance on prescription drugs may be declining in states where medical cannabis is legal, however the data is not statistically significant. In one study, a total of 2,774 individuals were surveyed on their cannabis substitution effects via an online anonymous questionnaire. Results of the survey indicated that 46% of participants substituted prescription medications with cannabis, of which narcotics/opioids were the most common class of drugs substituted.

Cannabis is not considered an addictive drug, especially compared to opioids. Hundreds of people die from opioid overdoses on a weekly basis, whereas there have been no deaths attributed to cannabis. In fact, cannabis is commonly used to wean patients off opioids. One study concluded a 25% decrease in the number of deaths due to opioid overdose after the legalization of medical cannabis in 13 states for the period of 1999 to 2010.

Less Dangerous Side Effects

Scientific evidence supports that cannabis is a safe and effective substitute of prescription medications for a variety of conditions including chronic muscle spasm, back pain, and mental health problems. Many patients have described the side effects of prescription medication as equivalent to the pain endured through the disease itself. For example, chronic muscle spasms are usually treated with analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, botulinum toxin, or anti-anxiety medication. However, these treatments are often associated with weakness, decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, and intolerable side effects. Recent conclusive studies state that medical marijuana is an effective drug to treat chronic muscle spasms. More patients are turning towards medical marijuana to treat muscle spasms, as opposed to opioids and other prescription medications.

An Effective Treatment for Patients with Resistance to Prescription Medication

Clinical studies have demonstrated the potential of cannabis to treat various conditions such as nausea. For nausea, a physician may prescribe an antiemetic, or anti-nausea medication. Side effects include drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation, dry mouth, changes in behaviour, and blurred vision. Unfortunately, it is difficult to administer antiemetics if the underlying cause of nausea is unknown. Alternatively, administering cannabis to treat nausea does not involve deciding the correct area of the brain to treat. Cannabis may also be effective for patients with a history of antiemetic-resistance. Alternatively, cannabis may also be used in conjunction with other prescription antiemetics to increase the effect of both.

Multi-Symptom Relief

Cannabis may be used to treat multiple symptoms; therefore, it is commonly considered an ‘all-in-one’ treatment. As opposed to taking multiple prescription medications to address all of your symptoms, many people are turning towards cannabis to avoid frequent visits to the pharmacy.

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