Canada recently concluded a study on the benefits of medical marijuana and found that it was not only effective in pain management but that it also helped overcome addiction to more harmful vices.
The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, found that marijuana use can diminish a user’s dependency on tobacco, alcohol and, in some cases, painkillers.
The researchers said this study was the first comprehensive survey of patients enrolled in Canada’s MMJ program.
The study, which involved 271 participants, is also viewed as one of the first major studies to make the connection between cannabis and substance addiction.
“[T]his study is the first to specify the classes of prescription drugs for which cannabis is used as a substitute, and to match this substitution to specific diagnostic categories,” read the results.
In addition to asserting that cannabis can help one get off dangerous and addictive drugs, the study confirms that weed is not a “gateway drug,” which has been the subject of debate for years and is often rolled out by politicians as an excuse to veto legalization.
“Cannabis is perceived to be an effective treatment for diverse conditions, with pain and mental health the most prominent,” according to the study’s lead researchers Philippe Lucas from the University of Victoria and Zach Walsh from the University of British Columbia.
Participants of the research were asked to complete an online survey comprised of “107 questions on demographics, patterns of use, and cannabis substitution effect.”
Within the study, a massive 63 percent used cannabis instead of prescription drugs. Of those individuals, 30 percent said they used cannabis instead of opioids.
The study also found that 16 percent of patients questioned consumed cannabis as an alternative to benzodiazepines for anxiety and insomnia; 12 percent preferred cannabis for their depression instead of using antidepressants.
For social situations, 25 percent reported that they used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, and 12 percent replaced their tobacco products with cannabis.
Arguably the most troubling part of the study, in the opinion of Culture Magazine, found that 42 percent of those questioned had to obtain their cannabis though illegal or unregulated sources.
“The findings that some authorized patients purchase cannabis from unregulated sources and that a significant percentage of patients were charged for medical cannabis recommendations highlight ongoing policy challenges for this federal program,” according to the study’s conclusion in the abstract.
As we’ve seen in the United States, keeping medical marijuana in an illegal status not only creates an unsafe scenario for the patients who obviously can benefit from it, but also results with a major revenue loss. Not to mention the health, law enforcement and social costs resulting from the opioid epidemic facing our country.
One hopes that our legislators and voters will start heeding the authoritative and impartial research results that our scientists are providing about a plant that provides so many health benefits.