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66% of Patients Substitute Marijuana for Prescription Drugs

| by NORML

By "Radical" Russ Belville

(Internal Medicine News) In an anonymous survey, 66% of 350 clients at the Berkeley (Calif.) Patients Group, a medical marijuana dispensary, said that they use marijuana as a prescription drug substitute. Their reasons: Cannabis offered better symptom control with fewer side effects than did prescription drugs.

Those with pain symptoms said that marijuana has less addiction potential than do opioids. Others said marijuana helped to reduce the dose of other medications.

More than 75% of respondents said they used cannabis for psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and persistent insomnia.

This matches my experience in talking with patients all over America.  We’ve seen studies that show THC “enhances the potency of opioids such as morphine in animal models” and patients I talk to say they can be pain free on one-half to one-third the amount of opioid pain killers when they’re using cannabis.  Not exactly good news to Big Pharma shareholders, but great news for patients in sixteen states and DC who can legally benefit from medical cannabis.

I know some will see the vast majority using cannabis for psychiatric disorders and scoff.  Yet the use of Wellbutrin was the primary cause of 1,132 deaths from 1997-2005 and that’s just one of many prescription drugs used to treat depression and anxiety.  Since 2004, prescription sleep aid Ambien has led to 305 cases of insomnia, and if you think that’s odd and counter-productive, in the past seven years, Prozac use has contributed to 147 deaths by suicide.
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