The American pharmaceuticals industry is one of the most EXPENSIVE in the world, costing approximately $80 billion a year! While some drugs are effective and assist with a variety of medical conditions, many of the most commonly prescribed drugs are incredibly addictive and harmful in their own rights. It comes as no real surprise that drug-related deaths in America are in there tens of thousands!
It is for this reason that many people are turning to cannabis as an alternative, seeking a more natural therapeutic approach.
With more research being done into the benefits of the marijuana plant, there has been a global shift in attitudes. In medical and recreational states, patients are using THC or CBD oils to combat a wide range of medical conditions. CBD from hemp is now legal in all 50 states in America, and many states allow its residents to smoke marijuana recreationally, which is a massive breakthrough for the cannabis industry!
In this article, we want to look at the versatility of the cannabis plant, and how useful it could be as a replacement for the over prescribed pharmaceuticals that are causing death and addiction across the US.
Cannabis: A Brief History
While cannabis has been around for thousands of years, its uses have varied over time, and with it so has its reputation. Starting off as a medicinal herb that was also used to built materials, cannabis has not always been associated with getting stoned.
Throughout the years’ cannabis has earned a stigma that has been difficult to shake. One of the most well-known cannabinoids found within the plant, THC, is the reason behind the aforementioned stigma. While progress is being made in leaps and bounds, sadly there are still a large proportion of people who believe cannabis to be a dangerous drug that’s only ability is to cause a mind-altering high.
Luckily, however, research has progressed, and we are seeing people now looking to cannabis for a whole host of reasons. While many still prefer to receive the benefits that come with THC, the high included! Many seek the medicinal benefits alone and turn to CBD, the plant’s second most well-known cannabinoid, for pain and anxiety relief.
In 2018, you can buy CBD products online and even off store shelves in some states! Studies are being released on a weekly basis detailing CBD’s promising contribution to Cancer, Epilepsy, Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis (the list goes on)!
The progression of the marijuana plant is certainly an impressive one, and highlights just how incredible its benefits are! So without further ado, let’s take a look at five pharmaceutical drugs that could be replaced by cannabis.
Pharmaceutical Drugs That Can be Replaced by Cannabis.
There are hundreds of thousands of prescription drugs available in America, and many are designed to do the same thing as another, under a different name – it can get quite confusing! While some are effective, unfortunately, a large majority of prescription drugs are highly addictive, and come with a list as long as your arm of both ‘common’ and ‘serious’ side effects!
When we look at the progress CBD is making in the medical world; it seems only natural to look to the cannabis plant for a more natural option to replace some of the most popular prescribed drugs. Here are five that we feel cannabis would replace with ease!
1. Zoloft – Antidepressant
Zoloft is one of the most overly prescribed psychiatric medications in America. Meant to be used as a short-term treatment for conditions such as:
- OCD (0bsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- Panic Disorders
- PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
There are thousands of variations on antidepressants in the US, but ranking number 1 is the Sertraline Hydrochloride pill, better known as Zoloft. Figures around this medication are concerning, as it is believed that a huge 80% of people taking the drug admit to taking it on a long-term basis. This is not only a sign of dependence and addiction but raises a lot of concerns when the side effects are taken into consideration.
Whether used on a short or long-term basis, Zoloft comes with an incredibly long list of side effects (both common, and less so!) Symptoms such as the following can be expected to occur from use of the antidepressant medication:
- Sore throat
- Increased Sweating
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
This is not the full extent of the potential side effects of Zoloft, and when we look at it side by side with cannabis, there is an obvious winner. Cannabis has been proven to promote the release of dopamine levels in the brain, which boosts mood and combats depression. With no recorded deaths associated with cannabis, it seems an obvious choice! While it may not be best for everyone, when taken in the right dosage, marijuana can be a much safer alternative for many sufferers of depression
2. Ambien – Sleep Aid
Ambien is a sedative drug that is used across the world and known as Zolpidem in other countries. The hypnotic medication is aimed at treating short-term insomnia, and is arguably one of the most highly abused drugs in America!
Perhaps one of the more highly addictive drugs off this list, Ambien can get you hooked in as little as one week! Created as a less addictive alternative to benzos, Ambien loses its effectiveness over a short period, leading to dependence and addiction.
Like Zoloft, this sedative medication comes with a hefty list of side effects, some of which are listed below:
- Muscle pain
For many users of Ambien, the benefits pale in comparison to the negatives, and it is for this reason that cannabis is becoming so sought after for insomnia sufferers. One of the number one reasons people go towards cannabis is due to its legendary ability to help you sleep. Not only can marijuana aid a peaceful night sleep, but also the risks attached are so few that it seems crazy not to give it a try!
3. Adderall – Stimulant
Adderall has been known by many names, “speed” and “the study drug” being just a few, but scientifically it is an Amphetamine. One of the most ‘popular’ pharmaceutical drugs amongst the younger generation, Adderall can bring about intense focus, a suppressed appetite and decrease the need for sleep.
Adderall was designed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, it has become an incredibly overly abused drug for its other qualities, which has led to addiction and in some cases overdose.
Side effects of Adderall are dense, but a few are listed below:
- Stomach Pain
- Hair loss
- Appetite loss
- Blurred vision
Again, the side effects go on and on, and while the medication is excellent for its purpose, it is so widely abused that it has become an increasingly dangerous drug.
Cannabis strains are designed to target specific conditions and symptoms, and weed aficionados will be able to tell you that there are a whole host of strains on the market that can offer the same benefits, with none of the downsides.
You could grab yourself a wonderful Sativa and save yourself the trouble of addictive and harmful pharmaceuticals!
4. Xanax – Anti-Anxiety
Belonging to the Benzodiazepines class of medications, Xanax is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in America!
Xanax works by increasing the amounts of neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. This causes a feeling of relaxation and calm in the user, and it is known for its ability to act quickly.
Often abused because it works so fast, the anti-anxiety medication can fast become serious as it packs a long list of side effects such as:
- Memory Impairment
- Muscle twitching and cramps
While cannabis is often talked negatively in relation to the mental health of the user when well-researched it can serve as a huge benefit. While sativas may replicate the benefits of a stimulant, indicas would make a wonderful alternative to Xanax for those seeking a less risky approach to good mental health. Find out which Strains are best for Anxiety
5. Vicodin – Pain Killer
Vicodin is a combination drug combining hydrocodone, which is an opiate, and acetaminophen. It is most commonly prescribed to people suffering from pain, and is extremely addictive!
Opioid abuse is rife throughout the US and Vicadin is no exception. However, with its most severe side effects including liver failure, jaundice, and urinary symptoms it seems that it is time for a healthier alternative! Other common side effects of the drug include:
Cannabis is often associated with pain relief, with CBD and THC being used across America to treat chronic pain. By working with our Endocannabinoid system, these cannabinoids works to release additional natural cannabinoids, which combat pain symptoms.
Final Thoughts About Cannabis Pharma Replacement
While cannabis is not for everyone, it seems like the substitution of an all-natural herb in replacement of man-made drugs seems like a no-brainer!
When we look at the facts and figures around 5 of the top selling pharmaceuticals, it seems crazy to think that cannabis is still getting a bad name while these dangerous addictive drugs are available everywhere!
It does seem like cannabis is making good progress though, with a survey done in 2015 showing that out of 410 people an impressive 80.3% of them had subbed cannabis for at least one pharmaceutical drug!
Here is to hoping that cannabis will be on the top selling list of medications in years to come!