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Medical cannabis may provide more benefits than you think

Published Dec 3, 2022 10:00 a.m. ET
Unsplash / Chelsea shapouri

It’s not uncommon to hear about the benefits of medical cannabis in terms of the symptoms and issues it may be capable of reducing. What is rarely mentioned is the long list of good things cannabis can do outside of alleviating pain or making a good night's sleep easier to achieve. Medical cannabis products, when taken in lieu of or in combination with prescription medications can have a profound impact on the lives of those that make the choice to try it, in many different ways.

Reduced opioid intake and a lower risk of addiction

We’re living in the middle of an epidemic, as rates of addiction to opioids continue to skyrocket, despite big pharma's best attempts to make these drugs more difficult to obtain and abuse. It’s a crisis, with no clear answer, and many of those who suffer started out as regular patients with a prescription for real problems they needed to solve, only to end up with another one – a full-blown addiction that quickly gets out of hand.

Since using cannabis helps to reduce the need for more extreme treatment options, patients who rely on cannabinoids are at a much lower risk of becoming reliant on other substances that may come paired with other adverse long-term health effects.

Fewer side effects

Pharmaceutical prescriptions can deliver much-needed relief, and in many cases, they might even save lives, but it’s impossible to deny the long list of side effects they so often go hand in hand with. Whether it’s ulcers, increased heart rate, problems with blood pressure, grogginess, difficulty with motor skills, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, fainting, appetite issues, or any other number of commonly listed side effects on prescription bottles, cannabis is much less likely to interfere with a patient’s day to day life.

Of course, it too may have side effects, but none are quite so severe or terrifying as some of the most highly prescribed pain medications.

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Affordability

Globally, patients struggle to keep up with constantly rising prices of prescription medications, some of which can cost upwards of hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month, a dire requirement when a lack of ability to pay could mean a reduced quality of life. Though regulated cannabis is still quite expensive overall, at least when compared to the black market, it’s still usually much more affordable, and that’s especially true in regions where it’s legal to grow your own.

When so many patients are already struggling to put food on the table, due to injury or poor health, a lower price point can make a world of difference in whether or not they get the treatment they need and eat.

Safety

At the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, medical cannabis products are almost always safer than some of the most popular medications out there, as you cannot overdose, and even if you were to take too much, the worst that might happen is a bad trip, a long nap, and a munchie fest before the individual in question would be past the worst of it all. Its effects on motor functioning are also milder than most narcotics, and they don’t generally last as long, giving those who need it most a little more control over how they live life.

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