Proponents of medical cannabis often begin using the plant after having bad experiences with various prescription medications. Medical cannabis users tend to move away from the pharmaceutical industry, and this is something that will certainly affect the profitability of the prescription drug industry. This trend is being confirmed by a new study published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal, which showed that cannabis is being used increasingly to substitute prescription drugs, alcohol, and other illegal drugs.

The Centre for Addictions Research of BC surveyed 473 cannabis using adults for this study. Over 86% of those surveyed said that they gave up one or more of the previously mentioned substances for cannabis. The biggest blow to the major pharmaceutical companies were the 80.6% who said they were giving up pharmaceuticals for the natural cannabis. The study also showed that adults under the age of 40 were likely to forego alcohol, illegal drugs, and pharmaceuticals.

There are a few major pharmaceutical drugs that could very well be replaced by medical cannabis. Painkillers such as Vicodin have adverse effects and can be addictive as well, whereas cannabis is much safer. There are 44 Americans dying each day from overdosing on painkillers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax could easily be tossed out in exchange for medical cannabis. Not everyone can treat their anxiety with cannabis however, depending on the strain used. Sativas are known to induce some anxiety, while indica strains of cannabis have been shown to reduce anxiety.

Another category of pharmaceuticals that could be replaced with cannabis is stimulants like Adderall for example. The effect on the person will again depend on whether sativa or indica is being used. Sativa would be the ideal choice for people trying to kick the Adderall.

Sleep aid medications such as Ambien are another area that can be avoided by using cannabis. Studies have shown that the use of pharmaceutical sleep aids isn’t good for sleep health in the long run. Using cannabis is one of the safest and best ways possible to help with insomnia. Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that cannabis is a safer alternative to Ambien.

One last area where cannabis can be substituted is with antidepressants such as Zoloft. Debilitating depression can be helped by using medical cannabis and there have been studies to back this up. It will be interesting to see how the pharmaceutical industry will adapt to the growing usage of medicinal cannabis instead of prescription medication. It is not likely that they will stand idly by if people start fleeing from their products.

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