Cannabis as an Alternative to Medicines Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis as an Alternative to Medicines: Everything You Need to Know

December 14, 2020

Quick question! What do you usually do to get off your headache? Taking a pain reliever and relaxing. Do you know aspirin can lead to various side-effects? Studies show that marijuana can also help manage headaches and other pain conditions.

So, cannabis vs medicines has become a hot topic. Can you use the herb as an alternative to medications for treating various conditions? Read on for complete information.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, also called cannabis, refers to dried flowers, concentrates, gummies, oils, etc. obtained from the Indica or Sativa plants. Science says that it has therapeutic properties, which can help reduce pain, inflammation, and various other health issues.

The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. THC is a psychoactive compound, which binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). On the other hand, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound with amazing anti-anxiety effects.

Currently, more than half of the states allow medical use of cannabis. Patients interested in buying and using marijuana for managing their conditions must apply for MMJ recs. However, hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal countrywide as per the Farm Bill of 2018.

Marijuana as an Alternative to Medicines

With scientific evidence that cannabis is safe to use, the substance is increasingly being used for the following conditions-

1. Pain: Marijuana is getting popular as an effective treatment option for pain. Studies show that CBD can help ease joint pain, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia pain, etc. However, opioid medications are commonly prescribed for pain management. But, they can result in side-effects, such as drowsiness, constipation, nausea, etc. Additionally, opioids can lead to dependence over time, thus you need to take higher amounts to receive the same effects.

A recent study reported that cannabis access resulted in a reduction in the number of opioid-related deaths. Moreover, in 2016, researchers at the University of Georgia reported that medical marijuana states saved an estimated total of $165.2 million in the Medicare program in 2013.

Anxiety: Anxiety is a common mental illness that can lead to sweating, trembling, increased heart rate, panic, and lack of concentration. Marijuana can help promote relaxation, boost mood, memory, etc. A study published in 2010 reported that CBD helped social-anxiety patients promote mental wellness. Researchers noted that CBD provided a significant improvement in blood flow in the brain areas associated with anxiety.

Anti-anxiety medications, such as antidepressants, SSRIs, SNRIs, etc. have certain side-effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, weight gain, dizziness, etc. Recently, the FDA announced an updation of the boxed warning with serious risks and harms associated with the benzodiazepine drug class. The objective is to improve the safe use of benzodiazepines, which are commonly used for anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, etc.

Insomnia: Insomnia affects about 30 million Americans. Common symptoms include trouble sleeping, waking up during the night, and trouble focusing on work. Marijuana’s relaxing and sedative effects can help promote sleep. Science says that taking high-THC strains can help reduce REM sleep and improve breathing. Moreover, it can be beneficial for patients suffering from PTSD.

Marijuana can replace OTC medications, such as prescription opioids and sleep pills. According to a survey of 1000 marijuana users in Colorado, three-quarters of them agreed that they used the herb for sleep. Of them, 84 percent said that marijuana worked while 88 percent reported that they stopped taking opioids.

Nausea: Marijuana can be used for managing symptoms of nausea. In fact, dronabinol and nabilone are the two approved drugs for cancer-related side-effects. As per the trials conducted by the American Cancer Institute, these drugs delivered better effects than some weaker FDA-approved drugs for managing nausea and vomiting.

Cannabinoids found in marijuana bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thus delivering euphoric effects.

Since marijuana doesn’t cause potential side-effects as medications, it can replace the latter. In some cases, the herb can cause some dependence issues. So, it’s necessary to learn how to use marijuana for managing your condition. Do comprehensive research on different cannabis products, select the right strains, dosage, and consumption method.

Tips to First-Time Cannabis Users

  • If you weren't living in a legal state, before visiting a dispensary, make sure you have a medical marijuana card. If you don’t have one, see an MMJ doctor today. The card allows you to access state-licensed dispensaries legally, save cannabis taxes, and get many other benefits.
  • Start with low-THC strains. This will help you how your system is responding to cannabis.
  • Consume low doses initially to avoid overconsumption issues.
  • Try different strains and dosages, and see what’s working for you the best.
  • If you have lung problems, avoid smoking marijuana. Prefer smokeless methods, such as vaping, tinctures, and edibles instead.

Final Thoughts

Marijuana can help ease symptoms of various conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. Although prescription medications are available for fighting these conditions, they are linked to unpleasant side-effects. In fact, some medications may lead to dependence issues over time. In 2018, 67,300 people in the United States died from a drug-related overdose, including prescription opioids.

Although cannabis can have some negative health consequences, it’s unlikely to cause death. end—you can replace medications with marijuana. However, it’s good to talk to a licensed doctor for professional help related to cannabis use for medical purposes.