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Survey: Patients Use Marijuana as a Substitute for Prescription Drugs

Posted by Jason Draizin on 10/31/2011 in Medical Marijuana Patient Stories

Medical marijuana has long been used as an alternative medicine to typical pharmaceutical drugs, which often carry unpleasant side effects and honestly sometimes just don’t work. This phenomenon is so prevalent in marijuana states such as California that it’s gathered the attention of a notable independent news publication for internal medicine specialists.

 

Internal Medicine News reported today about an anonymous survey taken at the Berkeley Patients Group dispensary in California, which found 2/3 of its patients use marijuana as a substitute for other prescription medicines. Their number one reason being that cannabis offers better symptom control without the harsh side effects of traditional prescription drugs.

 

This survey included input from 350 clients at the Berkeley Patients Group. Some interesting findings include:

  • 66% said they use cannabis as a substitute for traditional prescription medicines
  • They reported that medical marijuana has less addiction potential than any opioids they were prescribed
  • They said medical marijuana helped to reduce the dose of other medications
  • Almost 50% said they use cannabis two or three times per day
  • About 75% have health insurance that covered prescriptions, yet because of its effectiveness, they opt to use cannabis instead

 

The respondents reported using cannabis for a variety of ailments, and most use it for more than one medical condition. More than 75% of respondents said they used cannabis for psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and persistent insomnia. About 70% said they had a chronic condition, such as diabetes or arthritis. About 50% said they use marijuana for pain relief, including arthritis, migraines, and accident-related injuries. Other uses included appetite stimulation, carpal tunnel syndrome and multiple sclerosis.

 

Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., the director of research and social services at the Berkeley center explains: "Instead of having a pain medication, an antianxiety medication, and a sleep medication, they are able to just use cannabis, and that controls all of those symptoms."