Marijuana legalization is making a big impact on the U.S. medical industry. Big Pharma may view it as a bad thing. Still, it’s turning out to be a very positive gamechanger for patients suffering from chronic pain and various other medical conditions. Currently, medical cannabis is legal in 33 states, while CBD (a cannabis extract) is legal in every state. This progress in legalization is enhancing people’s lives in numerous ways, such as:
Providing Alternative Treatments
Marijuana has proven effective for chronic illnesses such as ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis and cancer, just to name a few. Some chronic conditions have very few treatment options or they may be unaffordable. Patients can also build up a tolerance for certain medications, making them ineffective. Some people may not take certain drugs due to other health conditions or potentially harmful interactions with other medications. Many people prefer to go the natural route whenever possible to avoid adverse effects; they use supplements like green superfoods powder to boost immunity or melatonin to fight insomnia. Like these examples, cannabis products are safe and affordable while providing long-term benefits. Medical marijuana has also been successfully utilized as an exit drug for harmful substances, such as opioids, alcohol and tobacco.
Improving Quality of Life
Side effects of medications can cause significant problems for patients, reducing their quality of life by keeping them from normal day-to-day activities. Medical marijuana can help to curb some side effects. For instance, chemotherapy treatments can cause nausea and loss of appetite in cancer patients. Cannabis can relieve nausea and improve appetite. An increase in appetite can make all the difference for people who need fuel to fight their battle. Medical marijuana can also be an effective muscle relaxant. This means that it can greatly improve people’s quality of life with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Cannabis helps control the pain and intensity of the muscle spasms, providing more independence in pursuing daily activities.
Lowering Opioid Deaths
The opioid crisis has become so critical in the United States that it was declared a national health emergency by the president after more than 64,000 deaths from opioid overdose in 2016. Prescription opioids aren’t the only problem; synthetic versions like fentanyl have caused the numbers to skyrocket. Medical marijuana programs have proven to reduce the opioid death rate by as much as 25% compared to states with no cannabis access. It might come as a surprise to you that the U.S. consumes nearly all of the world’s supply of prescription opioids. While being natural, marijuana can alleviate or greatly reduce pain for some people. It also has none of the harmful properties of opioids, such as their high probability of leading to an addiction or an overdose. Many pain medications are also highly sedating, so using cannabis products instead can enable a more active life.
Reducing Chronic Pain
People with chronic pain are more likely to become addicted to painkillers, including opioids. Medical cannabis can be an effective substitute for over-the-counter and prescription pain medication. Alleviating or reducing the pain and side effects provides for a more productive and normal daily life for many patients who were once at the mercy of powerful drugs. For chronic conditions that are not yet fully understood, like fibromyalgia, medical marijuana has been shown to relieve symptoms. Until more is known about the condition and how to treat it, cannabis can provide some relief. Even for people with less severe pain, medical marijuana can replace NSAIDs (e.g., Aleve or Advil), which many people can’t take due to issues such as kidney dysfunction or stomach ulcers.
Creating Less Need For Mental Health Prescription Medications
The accessibility of legal marijuana decreases the need for prescription antidepressants and anxiety medications. Because many psychiatric medications can have adverse side effects, patients will often quit taking them. Cannabis products can naturally boost mood and calm stress and anxiety for some people without the nasty side effects.