Although medical marijuana (sometimes referred to as medical cannabis) is not a fully-fledged prescription medicine owing to production restrictions and other government regulations, existing evidence alludes to the possibility of the controversial substance to assist patients in various ways. For example, medical marijuana can prevent nausea or vomiting during chemotherapy, alleviate chronic pain, muscle spasms, and improve appetite for people with below average appetite. In fact, some experts are of the idea that medical marijuana can replace some prescription medicines which research strongly suggest are dangerous; some of them are discussed in the following sections.
· Opioid-Based Painkillers
As at 2015, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that over 33 thousand American people succumbed to death as a result of opioids either in prescription drugs or other forms. The revelation led to many people casting doubt on the safeness of opioids used to treat either chronic or acute pain.
Could medical marijuana be the solution? Non-psychoactive Cannabidoil (CBD), one of the 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis, is being tested by renowned pharmaceuticals firms such as Nemus Bioscience, Axim Biotechnologies, and Israel’s Intec Pharma. Although the three companies are yet to publish their findings, their initiatives suggest the general direction that the pharmaceutical industry is taking.
· Sleeping Aids
Apparently, Americans have a problem falling asleep. CDC indicates that over nine million American adults use sleeping pills. However, sleeping aids are not only addictive but also possible triggers of death. When paired with alcohol or other drugs, sleeping pills become lethal.
On the other hand, marijuana particularly the indica strain has been lauded for its ability to relax the human body leading to sleep. Indica edibles as opposed to smoke or vapor of the same guarantees six to eight hours of sleep.
· Anti-Anxiety Drugs
People living with anxiety disorders presently depend on benzodiazepines which is a class of medicines including Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, etc. Over time, the users of the mentioned prescription drugs show over-reliance on them. Also, the drugs could lead to death.
A study commissioned by the Vanderbilt University and published in March 2014, concluded that medical marijuana is effective in treating anxiety. The investigation revealed that cannabinoid receptors in the brain are the same receptors responsible for triggering flight or fight reactions. When used, medical marijuana is capable of releasing endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) that are capable of binding to cannabinoid receptors and hence leading to the efficient functioning of the receptors. However, the study warned that heavy usage of medical cannabis could worsen anxiety disorders.
Many Americans who are aware of the adverse effects of the highlighted drugs are increasingly supporting the campaign for the use of medical cannabis. Pharmaceutical companies are responding positively by researching about medical cannabis.