There is plenty of false evidence that people suffering from pain, nausea, anxiety or other various types of emotional issues often switch their prescription meds for marijuana when they can.
With new investigative studies completed by the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review adds more scientific rigor to the casual observations. Of those surveyed, 80.3 percent documented substituting marijuana for prescription medication
. The researchers arrived at the conclusion that cannabis substitution can be an effective way to reduce the harm for those who are unable or unwilling to stop using prescription medication completely and that more investigative studies were needed on cannabis as a safer alternative.
In a study of 200 qualified medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island, close to 70 percent documented that using marijuana to treat chronic pain, and 56 percent indicated that they used pot as a substitute for prescription medication, mainly opioids. Over 90 percent reported that marijuana produced fewer side effects than conventional pain medicine.
A study conducted back in 2009 by Dr. Amanda Reiman, then of the University of California, Berkeley, currently Manager, Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, discovered that out of 350 patients at Berkeley Patient’s Group, 66 percent used marijuana as an alternative for prescription medication. Of those, 71 percent reported a chronic medical issue, 52 percent used marijuana for pain and discomfort, 75 percent used marijuana for a mental health issue. Even more critical may be the harm done by the over-prescription and abuse of opioids among patients who have no access to medical cannabis.
From 1998 to 2008, just before to the time of the Centre for Addictions research, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration noted that the amount of people searching for treatment for addiction to painkillers saw a spike of 400 percent. Back in 2010, fatalities from prescription drug overdose were higher than those from motor vehicle accidents, with opiate painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin playing a leading role.
Some have debated that marijuana might eventually replace or seriously reduce the market share of frequently prescribed pharmaceuticals like Vicodin, Xanax, Adderall, Ambien and Zoloft. So, when the question is asked about how much more supporting evidence is needed and why the political process that would allow doctors to recommend marijuana where medically indicated is so slow, suspicion turns to an entrenched pharmaceutical industry.
These debates may underestimate the impact of prescription medications for certain conditions or overestimate the possibilities for cannabis in the treatment of others.
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