MMJ Patients Reduce Pharmaceutical Use With Cannabis Use

Many cannabis friendly people I know were, or are, medical cannabis patients. A big chunk of those--myself included--turned to cannabis or even use it as a replacement to pharmaceutical prescription medicine. This past year, much of my family was calling and asking about how to use and how to source CBD and other cannabis specific medicine...legally of course. (Due to limitations on the federal level, only information was able to be provided.) And what I'm really trying to say is we're seeing a dramatic increase of cannabis users, whether it be recreational or medical. So I was happy to read that the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs distributed about 400 surveys to medical cannabis patients at a pro-reform public event, inquiring about their usage and attitudes toward the U.S. health care system. The results were published last week!

We turn to Marijuana Moment for the details:

“In comparison to pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis users rated cannabis better on effectiveness, side effects, safety, addictiveness, availability, and cost,” the study found. “Due to the medical use of cannabis, 42 percent stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug and 38 percent used less of a pharmaceutical drug.”

The most common drugs that patients stopped or reduced using were opioid-based painkillers, non-opioid painkillers, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants.

Of course, given the fact that the respondents were participating in a pro-reform advocacy event when they completed the surveys, it could be argued that the results skew in favor of marijuana over pharmaceuticals.

Even so, the surveys reflect trends that have been identified in past studies: access to medical cannabis seems to lead a portion of patients to cut out or reduce their use of prescription medications, some of which can carry serious side effects.

“This study advances knowledge in the evidence-based approach to harm reduction and benefit promotion regarding medical cannabis,” the researchers wrote. “Given the growing use of cannabis for medical purposes and the widespread use for recreation purposes despite criminalization, the current public health framework focusing primarily on cannabis abstinence appears obsolete.”

“Those working in public health and medicine have an obligation to reduce harm and maximize benefits to the health of individuals and society, and thus serious consideration and scientific investigation of medical cannabis are needed,” the study concluded.

Information referenced from Marijuana Moment.

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