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Medical Cannabis Patients Use Less Opioids, Antidepressants and Alcohol, Study Finds

A new study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reports a reduction in dependence on opioids, antidepressants, sleep medications and alcohol in patients who were given medical cannabis for their condition. According to saludmóvil™, researchers found an astounding 76.7 percent drop in opioid use in patients who used cannabis.  

As a physician, I think cannabis is a vastly underutilized therapeutic option that has been wrongly vilified, especially by U.S. regulatory agencies. I’m not alone in that thinking: A 2013 survey found a majority of physicians — 76 percent — approve of the use of medical marijuana for their patients. 

We've come a long way in the U.S. when it comes to re-normalizing the use of medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately, the Drug Enforcement Administration is still trying to suppress it as best they can. In December 2016, the agency announced cannabidiol (CBD) is being reclassified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, putting it on par with LSD and heroin — and this is a travesty, particularly in the face of the opioid epidemic we’re having right now.

Medical marijuana has shown positive effects in treating mood disorders, degenerative neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and seizures.

The term medical marijuana refers to the use of the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant and its pure extracts to treat a disease or improve a symptom. Marijuana’s incredible healing properties come from its high cannabidiol (CBD) content, critical levels of medical terpenes, flavonoids, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

Recently, through traditional plant breeding techniques and seed exchanges, growers have started producing cannabis plants that have higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC for medical use — which should void the government’s arguments that medical cannabis needs regulated or banned so patients can’t use it just to get high. It’s time that regulators moved in to the 21st century and recognize this product for its medicinal value.
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