Legal Marijuana Found to be Replacing Prescription Drugs
A new study recently published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs has found that the majority of customers at two cannabis retail stores in Colorado are using legal marijuana to treat pain and insomnia, and some have even managed to reduce their use of prescription medication as a result IFLScience.com reported.
The study surveyed 1,000 participants and the numbers broke down a little something like this:
- 65% reported using cannabis for pain relief
- ¾ reported using cannabis to help with sleeping problems
- 80% of users described marijuana as “very or extremely helpful” in treating their pain, with 88% of participants who took opioid painkillers saying they were able to reduce or completely stop their use of prescription medication as a direct result of their cannabis use.
- 87% of those taking over-the-counter sleep medication and 83% who took prescription sleeping medication were able to reduce or completely stop their use of these medications.
While these results may appear promising, they are also causing concern for some. For example, none of the participants in this study had been prescribed marijuana to treat any of their symptoms, they were purchasing their cannabis for “recreational” use, meaning they were self-diagnosing and self-prescribing marijuana as a treatment without consulting a doctor.
“In states where adult use of cannabis is legal, our research suggests that many individuals bypass the medical cannabis route (which requires registering with the state) and are instead opting for the privacy of a legal adult use dispensary,” Dr. Gwen Wurm, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of MiamiMiller School of Medicine and study author, said in a statement.
“The challenge is that health providers are far behind knowing which cannabis products work and which do not,” she continued. “Until there is more research into which cannabis products work for which symptoms, patients will do their own ‘trial and error’ experiments, getting advice from friends, social media and dispensary employees.”