Study: Cannabis Often Substituted For Prescription Medications

Medical marijuanaAdults often substitute cannabis for the use of prescription medications, according to data published in the Journal of Pain Research.

Investigators from the Bastyr University Research Institute assessed the frequency of drug substitution among a self-selected national sample of 2,774 self-identified marijuana consumers.

Just under half of respondents (46 percent) reported using cannabis in place of prescription medications. Respondents were most likely to use cannabis in lieu of narcotics/opioids (36 percent), anxiolytics/benzodiazepenes (14 percent), and antidepressants (13 percent).

Women were more likely than men to report drug substitution, as were older respondents. Those who identified as medical cannabis patients were more than four times as likely as non-medical users to report drug substitution.

“These data contribute to a growing body of literature suggesting cannabis, legal or otherwise, is being used as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly prescription pain relievers,” authors concluded.

The study’s conclusions are similar to those of several others, such as these here, here, here, and here, finding reduced prescription drug use and spending by those with access to cannabis.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs — a cross sectional study,” appears in the Journal of Pain Research here.

8 thoughts

  1. Well, yes. Or, is it the other way around? It might also be fair to say that victims of the prohibitionist mind-set continually substitute inferior pharmaceuticals for cannabis, in a futile attempt to regulate their failed endocannabinoid systems. Once quality cannabis is made available to these chronically-ill patients, their medical needs are met, and they no longer feel the need to piss away hard-earned money on bad medicine.

  2. Adults often substitute cannabis for the use of prescription medications, according to data published in the Journal of Pain Research.


    And this is why big pharma is motivated to be problematic…

    need a ‘green medicine’ movement

  3. Pick any moment during the Health Committee hearing on HB2107 the night before to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Texas and I dont think there was a member on that committee or a witness in that audience that didnt intuitively understand this was a referendum on the profit-over-people model of the opiate pharmaceutical industry:

    The hearing begins around the video length hour of 2:45 and goes on past 6:45 which was about 2:30am wednesday morning. The JAMA report that showed a %25 reduction of opiate overdose and suicide in states with legal medical marijuana was mentioned by 3 different testimonies that worked hard not to repeat another witness, just to show how important these studies are when registering for a committee hearing.
    Only one witness, Dr Richard Hurley, spoke against the bill. He unwittingly argued against himself: when he said that by “current standards” of pain management if he were to recommend cannabis instead of opiates for his patients under the language of this bill that would cover over “%70 of my patients!” The audience applauded. He meant to be sarcastic. When the good doctor called marijuana “addictive” the audience jeered, and Chairman Price had to kindly scold everyone back in order. The doctor then tried to compare marijuana to a poison of inadequate prescription. One Rep on the Committee responded sarcastically “like rat poison was prescribed as heart medicine?” The audience cheered.
    Its hard to believe a man could say these things after so much evidence and heartbreaking testimony to the contrary. But his heartlessness… and that of the profit-over-people model of pharmaceutical opiates was revealed by many more doctors and patients in Texas that day. And our voices will not be silenced.

  4. Not from Texas, but I applaud this effort. As a polio survivor, I have been relegated to using opioids, OxyContin, for many years to treat the severe, constant pain I endure. Two years ago, while on a polio support site, I saw where many were getting relief using high CBD marijuana, and were able to eliminate or reduce Oxy use. It was a life-changing miracle. Rather than sit around home in an Oxy stupor because of the large amount it took to give marginal relief, I am now an active member of society: socializing, going to arts functions, traveling to see friends, and much, much more. It’s beyond my comprehension, in the face of so much evidence, that so many people oppose medical use of marijuana. I especially am angered by the politicians that profess to be “big supporters” of our veterans in public, but when it comes to voting to allow veterans with PTSD access to marijuana, they oppose it. It’s been proven that it can be life-changing for them, too. These two-faced politicians are charlatans that I would guess get “perks” from the likes of Perdue Pharma, who will lose millions as people stop or reduce use of their awful, “block-buster” drug, OxyContin.

  5. This is why big pharma is terrafied. They don’t care about me they don’t care about you and they don’t care about our health. All they care about is keeping you on as many of their drugs as possible just long enough until they’ve wrung every last penny out of you. After that if you die who cares as long as they’ve maximised their porofit. We’re not people to them we’re simply a dollar amount.

  6. My father has been suffering from back pain for the past four years and up until a week ago was planning on getting surgery. What changed his mind? Well, I am an avid cannabis user and convinced him to try it and he said the results were remarkable. He canceled his surgery and now picks up off me. I get him cannabis vape cartridges from ( I don’t suffer from any body pain but apparently it helps a lot. Go cannabis!

  7. I just looked up that company. I think they sell a standardized process to produce cannabis.

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