Marijuana Patients Trust Cannabis-Based Medicine Over Pharmaceuticals

According to researchers from the University of Michigan and SUNY Buffalo, medical marijuana patients are more likely to use—and to trust—medical marijuana over mainstream medicine for addressing their health issues. The team analyzed brief surveys from 392 adult attendees of a public, marijuana advocacy event and found that medical marijuana patients put more value and trust in cannabis-based solutions than they did in pharmaceuticals. 

Participants rated medical marijuana better than pharmaceuticals on six criteria: effectiveness, side effects, safety, addictiveness, availability, and cost. The study results, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, show that 42 percent of respondents had stopped their use of at least one pharmaceutical drug, and 38 percent tapered their pharmaceutical drug use, after gaining access to medical marijuana. About one-third of respondents maintained that their mainstream doctor or other health care provider wasn’t aware of their medical marijuana use.

Medical marijuana, which can be used as part of a treatment plan for a wide number of conditions from pain to anxiety to epilepsy and cancer, is legal in 33 states plus Washington, D.C. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, roughly three million Americans are registered medical marijuana patients, though the true number of medical users is likely much higher.

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