Replacing Habit-Forming Substances With Cannabis


We are in the middle of cannabis being accepted as a legitimate treatment path for various conditions and symptoms. Study after study is proving the effectiveness of cannabinoids for everything from pain management to muscle spasms and nausea, while also showing how much more manageable the side effects of cannabis are over conventional pharmaceuticals.

One study on the effectiveness of a new drug policy (published in the International Journal of Drug Policy) found that some Canadians substitute habit-forming substances, like prescription opioids and antidepressants, for cannabis to treat their conditions. 

The paper, titled “Medical cannabis access, use, and substitution for prescription opioids and other substances: A survey of authorized medical cannabis patients,” was the first to specify the classes of prescription drugs for which cannabis can be a substitute. It was also the first to match those substitutions to specific diagnoses and highlights several points where the federal cannabis access program, now the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), needed fixing.




In a separate Canadian survey of medical marijuana patients, 63% of respondents were substituting the following prescription drugs for cannabis: 

  • painkillers (30%)
  • benzodiazepines (16%) 
  • antidepressants (12%)

Cannabis substitution also occurred in cases where medical cannabis had substituted the regular use of alcohol (25%) and tobacco (12%). 

In another survey where both medical and recreational cannabis consumers were using medical cannabis in California, the rate of cannabis for alcohol substitutions was even higher (40%). 

The authors of the Canadian survey feel that the findings support previous research and show us the specific conditions that cannabis helps treat, and the types of medicines it can replace.

June 25, 2018

by Parker Wallace

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Parker is a cannabis enthusiast to the core who shares a keen interest in listening to what others have to say and understanding what’s important to them. Those who know Parker know that his passion for health and wellness runs deep, and his love of Canada even deeper!


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