Cannabis replaces prescription drugs, users say

In a story published Monday, Internal Medicine News reports that according a survey of 350 California users of medical marijuana, about two-thirds of them substitute cannabis for prescription drugs.

According to the survey, “Cannabis offered better symptom control with fewer side effects than did prescription drugs.”

From the article:

“Instead of having a pain medication, an antianxiety medication, and a sleep medication, they are able to just use cannabis, and that controls all of those symptoms,” said Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., the director of research and social services at the Berkeley center.

More than 75% of respondents said they used cannabis for psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and persistent insomnia. Unlike some psychiatric drugs, they said, marijuana didn’t leave them feeling like “zombies,” Dr. Reiman reported at the American Psychiatric Association’s Institute on Psychiatric Services.

The mean age of those responding to the survey was 40, with ages ranging from 18 to 81. About 65 percent were employed, 81 percent had attended college, 28 percent earned at least $60,000 a year and 75 percent have health insurance which covers prescription medicines but not cannabis.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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