Marijuana Could Replace These Prescription Pills
The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. These highly addictive painkillers share many of the same chemical makeup as heroin. In fact, many heroin users switch to opioids because they’re stronger. There are also over the counter painkillers, but acetaminophen (common in most OTC painkillers) comes with its own host of side effects. Increasingly, supporters are saying that medical marijuana can be an excellent replacement for prescription pills. It’s even being used as a way to wean addicts off of opioids. As marijuana continues to be passed as legal, both medically and recreationally, around the country, how might we use this natural drug to stop our tendency towards abused prescription drugs?
Researching The Problem
According to British Columbia’s Centre for Addictions Research, in a poll of 473 marijuana users, 86 percent say they used marijuana to give up at least one other substance. It’s considered a non-toxic option for numerous prescriptions—and if THC is avoided, marijuana can easily be a painkiller with none of the other side effects commonly used in recreational usage.
Chronic pain sufferers are especially drawn to cannabis for obvious reasons. They don’t want to be prescribed painkillers with dangerous side effects for the long-term. Originally, opioids were meant to be prescribed for short-term pain (like a surgery) due to their addictive nature. If a person has chronic pain, they need an option that can be used for life without risky side effects.
What pills may be replaced with marijuana?
Here are just a few:
- Vicodin (and other painkillers). No matter what kind of prescription painkiller it is, marijuana is potentially a great alternative. Studies have confirmed that marijuana is effective in treating pain. Plus, with only CBD strains, a person can effectively stick to their daily tasks (like work) without the hallucinogenic effects of THC. It’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that 44 Americans die daily from painkiller overdoses. Many more are hospitalized.
- Xanax (and other anti-anxiety pills). Marijuana won’t work for everyone suffering from anxiety, but it can work for many. It also depends on the strain of marijuana. For instance, some strains are known for actually causing paranoia and anxiety. Sativas are the biggest instigators of an anxious high because it’s a cerebral high. However, the indica strain has been proven to actually reduce anxiety.
- Adderall (and other stimulants). There’s an Adderall addiction also running rampant, especially as college students discover that it has the ability to make them work better and harder—but at what cost? Marijuana is an alternative, but it depends on the strain. Sativas are the best match for those with ADD and ADHD. There’s also a mini-trend of people “micro-dosing” other natural elements such as LSD in order to improve concentration without the other side effects of these drugs. It’s particularly popular in women in high-stress jobs.
- Ambien (and other sleep aids). One of the most commonly known side effects of marijuana is sleepiness. That makes it a natural fit for sleep aids. Some studies have shown that marijuana is safer while offering the same results as a sleep aid even for trying conditions as serious as insomnia. Again, the key is to find the strain that works for you—this often means a little experimentation to find the strain that won’t cause grogginess or unwanted side effects during use.
- Zoloft (and other antidepressants). Cannabis, in the right strain, can be a fantastic way to treat depression. It’s not the right pick for everyone, and some studies have shown that marijuana can increase the perception of depression depending on the strain. However, as anti-depressants are often prescribed for long-term, it’s important to consider alternatives.
Are you interested in a natural, safer way of treating a condition? Talk to your doctor about medical marijuana usage. You may need to see a few doctors before you find one who’s on the same page as you. However, always talk to a doctor before weaning off any drug and/or replacing a prescription with any other approach.