Switching Pills for Pot: Why Some People Are Swapping Big Pharma for Marijuana
For some people, exchanging prescribed opiates for a small sack of flowers can be a life changing event. Here’s why more and more people are doing it.
Some of the most invasive, dangerous, and addictive drugs are prescribed for daily use. Deaths by prescription drugs are at an all-time high in America, as well as across the world. For some, they is little other choice to be made, but for others, marijuana use has become a useful alternative.
For almost a decade now, in the United States, it’s not uncommon to hear a cannabis user joke about how the drug eases their glaucoma troubles or improves the daily struggle as an arthritis sufferer. It’s becoming increasingly common to see marijuana use in films and television shows. Many countries are beginning to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes, while others are even considering the legalization of marijuana for recreational usage. But at what cost?
Tackling the Opioid Epidemic
In 2016, more than 214 million prescriptions were written for opioid medications. One in five people in American are prescribed long term use of opioids for pain. More than 1,000 per day are prescribed opioid medications for short term use in the emergency setting. Which has led to more than 11 million people abusing the drugs. As well as claiming the lives of nearly 64,000 people nationwide.
“In no way are we suggesting that people exchange heart medication, or appropriate medical intervention for marijuana,” says a spokesperson for the company High Supplies, a marijuana seed supplier from The Netherlands. “However, we are seeing a staggering number of people in the world choosing marijuana for pain relief. Knowing that another option exists, people can choose that option and lead healthier lives, and also see real results.” They say.
Studies have found that in countries that have supportive medical marijuana laws, opioid addiction and overdose statistics are beginning to drop. “One study that has recently come out of Canada covered 271 participants who purchase cannabis solely for medical purposes. About 63% of those patients admitted to choosing marijuana, marijuana seeds, and/or marijuana supplements as an alternative to traditionally prescribed drugs.
- 30% of those patients reported opioid replacement,
- while 16% and 12% reported the replacement of benzodiazepines and antidepressants respectively.
So the trend we’re seeing isn’t solely using marijuana as an alternative to pain medication, but also an alternative to other highly addictive and dangerous traditional pharmaceuticals.”
Finding a Place for Natural Substance in a Synthetic World
“One of the main reasons that cannabis has been difficult to specifically pin down as having real medical value is a mix between underfunded research and the fact that marijuana affects multiple bodily systems, in multiple ways, depending on each individual make up.” The spokesperson explains that marijuana has a ‘non-specific’ binding pattern within the body, which means that for some people,
- the drug is an ideal way to address anxiety without pharmaceutical intervention,
- while in others it can actually serve to exacerbate feeling of paranoia or anxiousness.
“The prime way that pharmaceuticals become cleared for widespread use is they are engineered to be problem specific for the majority of the population. This is much more difficult to achieve with marijuana. Common pharmaceuticals are designed to attach to very specific parts of the human brain and quantifiable regulate a desired outcome.
” Because marijuana is bound, stored, and eliminated from the body in ways that are strikingly different to most other substances, it makes it far less specific in its individual effect. Making the available literature more anecdotal than concrete. “In my opinion, medical marijuana use marks the beginning of designer medicine.” They say.
Designer medicine is thought of as the way forward in medical technologies and procedures. Instead of creating solutions to problems that sort of work for a wide percentage of the population, designer medicine suggests creating medications and procedures that are tailor made to fit each individual’s needs.
Working for a smaller section of the population – but working more efficiently and producing far better results with much lower chances of side effects.
Speaking of Side Effects…
Look at the paperwork that comes with any pharmaceutical on the market and you will see a list of acceptable side effects.
- Often, these side effects include minor discomforts such as nausea or irritability.
- However, look at the side effects of the more commonly prescribed long-term use pain medications, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants and the serious side effects are well… extremely serious.
Picking up the paper associated with Vicodin, a common opioid pain medication in the US and side effects that pop up are more than a little concerning.
- “Respiratory depression, dependency, withdrawal symptoms, hepatotoxicity, agranulocytosis” these often misunderstood, and sometimes fatal side effects are so common in fact, that the medication comes with a ‘black box warning’.
- A black box warning is the strictest warning that the FDA puts on drug labels and does so because the serious side effects of that drug are often encountered.
- Withdrawal symptoms of opioids include severe anxiety, hallucinations, erratic heart rhythms, paranoia, and in extreme cases even death.
On the insert accompanying an Ativan prescription, a drug commonly administered to combat anxiety, you’ll find yet another black box warning,
- Warning its consumers of the high likelihood of death, should it be used in conjunction with opioid medications.
- Serious reactions to the medication are reported as “respiratory failure, dependency, seizures, suicidality, rapid heart rate, and intra-arterial gangrene” just to name a few.
- Coming to Prozac, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for depression throughout the US, and sure enough, the black box warning looms ahead. Warning consumers of a “increased risk in suicidality…
” Wait…what? You’ve read correctly.
- One of the top pharmaceuticals used to combat depression can actually make subjects more likely to commit suicide.
- As well as can serve to cause some fatal heart arrhythmias, “depression exacerbation”, and Steven-Johnson Syndrome, which is arguably one of the most terrifying adverse reactions to widely prescribed pharmaceuticals.
- Withdrawal symptoms can be extreme and, in some cases, require hospitalization.
And now we come to Marinol, big Pharma’s response to medical marijuana. Essentially, marinol is THC in pill form.
- Which has no black box warnings to be seen and at its worst, has been evidenced to cause dizziness and nausea or vomiting.
- While “dependency” behaviors have been noted, there is no evidence of marijuana being legitimately addictive, in fact, governmental bodies in the US had to create a subgenre of addiction just to be able to categorize it as an addictive substance, labeling these behaviors as >>>>>>>
- “Marijuana use disorder” according to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Citing literature that long term use of marijuana followed by abrupt cessation can cause people to encounter “cravings and irritability”.
“We definitely think that people should do their own research, draw their own conclusions, and try and reach a viable alternative with their doctor when it comes to considering any change in a medication regimen.” High Supplies says, hinting at the fact that abrupt disuse of many pharmaceuticals could prove deadly. “But we also support anyone who believes that marijuana is a better alternative for them.”
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