One of the great things about medical cannabis is that it can often be used to replace prescribed pharmaceuticals. This has become especially important as overdose mortality rates related to prescription drugs continue to rise. The number of opioid related deaths have gotten so high that many research studies are focused on this addiction. While this is very important, some research suggests that anxiety medications could cause the next big addiction epidemic. One solution to this problem could be medical cannabis.
Last Spring, one research team published a study in the American Journal for Public Health. They analyzed data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey taken from 1996 to 2013 to understand trends in Benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are commonly compounded into drugs that are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and even seizures. The issue is that benzodiazepines are not meant for long term use, but patients often continue using them for up to a decade.
While doing their job they can also cause:
- Impaired coordination
- Vision problems
- Feelings of depression
Many prescription related overdoses happen due to complications with benzodiazepines in combination with opioids. The study mentioned above did uncover that there has been no evidence of a decrease in benzodiazepine overdoses. Because of this, researchers concluded that interventions to reduce the use of benzodiazepines were necessary for public health. Luckily cannabis and its individual compounds can be used to treat the same conditions as this more dangerous pharmaceutical compound.
While pharmaceutical medicines are stronger and necessary in some cases, herbal remedies can be very helpful as well. Herbs like cannabis are especially useful in times when we are phasing out prescriptions like benzodiazepines. For these conditions, however, be sure not to make the mistake of choosing flowers or products with high THC and low CBD. High THC can aggravate anxiety. It can also mess with our melatonin production and stop us from reaching a REM cycle, in other words, stop us from having a good night’s sleep. So, when attempting to use cannabis for this purpose be sure to speak with your bud pro about getting something with a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio.
With the proper education the public could know about cannabis as a replacement to benzodiazepines, possible stopping a possible addiction epidemic before it ever starts. To use cannabis as a tool to safely drop these pharmaceuticals off of a regimen ask a doctor or naturopath for help along the way.