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Survey: Most Patients Use Marijuana As A Substitute For Prescriptions


prescription drugs substitute marijuana cannabisI have a lot of family members  and friends that take a number of prescription drugs. They often complain about how prescription drugs make them feel, which can be anything from groggy to shaky and just about anything else in between. I always tell them to try using cannabis as a substitute for some or all of their prescriptions, especially when they are complaining about a lack of sleep, or how sleep aids help them feel.

Some friends and family have taken me up on the offer and I have provided them with butter or edibles, tinctures, and in some cases flower to smoke or vaporize. Not one person has ever came to me after the fact and complained about how marijuana made them feel. Everyone of them has stopped using one or more prescription drugs and started using marijuana regularly as a substitute. ‘I didn’t know it would work that well or I’d have listened to you a long time ago’ is a common expression that I hear.

According to a study out of Canada, which examined why patients use medical marijuana, most patients who participated in the study stated that they used medical marijuana as a substitute for prescription drugs, among other things. Below is an excerpt from the study:

Over 41% state that they use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol (n = 158), 36.1% use cannabis as a substitute for illicit substances (n = 137), and 67.8% use cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs (n = 259). The three main reasons cited for cannabis-related substitution are “less withdrawal” (67.7%), “fewer side-effects” (60.4%), and “better symptom management” suggesting that many patients may have already identified cannabis as an effective and potentially safer adjunct or alternative to their prescription drug regimen.

Do you use medical cannabis as a substitute for a prescription? If so, what type of prescription, and how is it better than the prescription you were previously using?


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Danny Westley J. on

    Hell yes Mary is the best substitue for me also-I am a quadraplegic who has extreme pain and spasticty have this drug baclofen for 30 years and have quit it now and replaced it with cannabis ,my spasms have almost quit and pain is managable now -My only wish would to be able to use cannabis legally where I live–stoned and living DJW

  2. I agree some people here in wv especially in the southern region want to ruin it for those people who really need them by abuse and sell them for profit if law enforcement would wasting tax dollars and resources going after responsible cannabis users and arresting and sentencing addicts to jail insted of helping the get treatment for opiateopioid and hard drug ex.Crack,herion,meth,and alcohol addiction and arrest dealers addiction will continue to get worse

  3. Why does he have you on percs when he has you on opanas seem like he just wants to maximize his profit as much as possible i live in swstrn west virginia an docs stacking scripts is all if not way to common even for people who really need them and sadly there is probably more people with prescription painkillers that use them just to get high or sell them in my county alone

  4. Don’t get too excited. The hospitals are going to be dispensing it and you can better believe that they will NOT give it to people who refuse to use conventional medicine. They will most likely make you take a ton of pills and maybe give you some weed. Don’t ever think for a minute that big pharma in NY has taken it’s eye off the ball. and that ball is killing you with drugs after they make you an addict.

  5. I too am full of anxieties and fears…I can’t handle Sativas as well due to Paranoia and too many racing thoughts, and OCD patterns, but those Indicas are better than Librium or Haldol or anything else for that matter, anyday!

  6. I have an issue with spinal pain and my dr prescribes: Percocet, opana, zanaflex, Xanax, ambien and a whole bunch more but my insurance pays for it but they wont pay for weed. living on disability its a difficult situation as weed cost $300+ for a months supply. I sure do prefer the weed but uncle sams got my by the balls. the $$ for weed in az needs to be a less..

  7. I have been using marihuana as a substitute for my PTSD and antidepressant for two years now. It has also worked on my anger and anxiety problems. I lost a child 14 years ago and have been a lab rat on every type of antidepressant/anxiety medicine since. Nothing has worked like cannabis has.

  8. I have found good buds to be a much better option than the Haldol(antipsychotic), Propranalol(beta blocker), and whatever anti-seizure meds that I used to take. I have seizures like 3 times a year or less now. My schizophrenia is mostly under control when self medicated, and I don’t need the beta blockers because they were for the side effects of the Haldol. I highly recommend you combine a high quality daily turmeric supplement with your marijuana intake, it has MANY benefits and no side effects in my experience.

  9. I have had 4 total shoulder replacements in 5 years. My doctors are from the top orthopedic hospitals in the country. (Hospital for Special Surgery NYC and Mass General of Boston.) Now my other shoulder is torn and weak and I fear losing the ability to use both arms. I am 54 years old. My pain management schedule per day used to be (3) 80mg Oxycontin, (6) 10-325 Percocet, (4) 10mg Valium, and sleeping medication. WV is trying to eliminate all pain contracts regardless of length of history. I never broke my pain contract but I was booted out of the club after 9 years of being on this routine. Without medical marijuana, I have no other good viable choices. I do not use alcohol and refuse to search the streets for easier drugs to buy and become addicted. My heritage is Hawaiian and Cherokee Indian. My people have used cannabis for as long as I can remember. It never made me lazy, stupid, or less productive. Maybe the focus should be on the POSITIVES of marijuana instead of the rumors that have very little fact or statistics. People did not just start using marijuana yesterday. What is driving the rest of us crazy is seeing 20 U.S. states say OK to the green stuff while the other 30 states say we are lawbreakers. Responsible adults have made good choices their entire life. Why should the decision to use marijuana legally be in question, especially when we see the drug cartels as the REAL ENEMY.

  10. Doreen Spears on

    I have a seizure disorder after after a brain surgery gone bad. Having to choose between pain managements and passing a 10 panel for pain and smoking for the seizures I chose the seizures. Smoking seems to make the skull pain tolerable (240 oxy’s per mth) but more reduced my seizures from 3-5 per week to ab. 3-5 every 3 months.#bright eyed blues #shoulden’t have to choose.

  11. After the VA played games with codeine after an operation – denying pills long before the pain went away – I simply used my medical weed (super silver haze) in larger doses than I typically used and was able to maintain quite well.

  12. So I tried pot helps me sleep stops my fiber myalgia pain but is illegal so went to pain dr for help they gave me a urine test and guess what I’m a drug addict so they can’t give me any kind of help what about the oath they took so do I go to jail or live with pain I’ 76 years old and I just can’t get up and move to another state I want to know how a person who is a government official can do cocainn and the go back to work is this really freedom for who not me you young people better fix it we tried but couldn’t do good luck and god bless

  13. I use cannabis in place of depression and anxiety medication. I think that, unless absolutely necessary, using pills should always be your last option.

  14. ADHD: Sleeping, focusing, staying calm and not fidgety, and anxiety among many others. WEED > any stimulants.

  15. In AZ they are arguing about verbage right now in a class action lawsuit for a child who needs cannabis oil for treatment of his seizures. The argument is that we legalized the plant “marijuana” but only its flowers as medicine, rather than legalizing “cannabis” extracts so therefore oils and concentrates like hash oil for skin cancer is illegal and this child is expected to ingest the flower somehow by eating it i guess (which i know from having a brother with epilepsy proves difficult while seizing) i’m sure nobody expected the boy would smoke it but eating it didn’t work either so his parents want to discuss the need for oil. I know everybody on this sight knows that cannabis and marijuana are the exact same thing. Utah has stated that it will allow kids cannabis oils to be imported from elsewhere. I hope that new research and cases like this one help move your situation into a new light. Blessed Be

  16. Not all my Rx are replaceable with cannabis. I do use it to replace pain killers unless I have to be gone from home a long time.

  17. I have taken every pharmacy Rx without success for seizures in the past 25 yrs, even had surgery without success. I now hear that marijuana is a successful treatment for seizures but I cannot gain access as it remains illegal in md. Very frustrating

  18. Sorry if this story is a little long! But I got some Rick Simpson oil for a relative with severe fibromylasia and arthritis (and some a whole lot of other issues directly related to prescription meds) who the doctors prescribed all sorts of pain killers and a morphine patch. The four years of constant morphine use have turned him into a zombie and not to mention an addict. Which is so sad because he has always been such a strong and good man who would never have imagined himself as one day becoming an opiate addict. But when your in pain and desperate and have been brainwashed to believe cannabis is dangerous and addictive you’ll do what the doctor says. Anyway, after giving him the Rick Simpson oil, for the first time in years he was comfortable (still had pain in his knees from knee replacement surgery) but he said he felt great and it worked better than morphine! He was also alert and present, laughing and joking like his old self and having meaningful conversations with us that we have missed for so long. Unfortunately, we forgot how terrible morphine withdrawal was and after 6 hours it kicked in like a Mother F. and we didn’t think to keep giving him the Rick Simpson oil to help with the withdrawal. After he started getting a fever and nausea and itchy feeling under his skin, we relented and gave him a morphine patch. But even after that, he wasn’t getting any relief for his nausea so we gave him some more Rick Simpson oil to help relieve his stomach. Well, after he paced the floor for a few hours (2 am) he finally went to sleep. But the next morning he seemed so much clearer than normal and in a good mood. His wife even remarked how different (in a good way!) he was. They were so encouraged they are now going forward with cannabis treatment and to help get him off of morphine for good. I can’t tell you what an answer to prayer this was to our family. God is good!

  19. I use marijuana in place of my Crohns meds as well as in place of any narcotics or pain meds and live in N.Y. so psyched that our governor believes in this!!!

  20. Great article Johnny…my family is completely mental and most of them are on antidepressants like amitryp or imipramine (spelling on both) and a few others are on the famous wellbutrin/abilify cocktails. My boy was given both Prozac and Paxil that made him suicidal so they said treat him with hydroxyzine which is an antihistamine to knock him out. My girl was on the seroquel what a zombie! until she got her Medical AZ card now she functions again without heavy medicine. Gotta love the “know it alls”… i learned very early in my 20s that good ole herb would fix my mental incapacity to function. When i’m starting to panic hit me with an Indica its better than Zanax or thorazine any day! Not to mention with the job i have and my back problems that it keeps me off the dreaded painkillers and even worse the free feeding on OTC Tylenols and Advils that eat up your liver and kidneys. My stepdad is 65 with 2 cancer battles and 2 back surgeries under his belt and he tells all of his very religious friends to get off the scripts they can’t live without and give weed a try. This inspired me… ok rant over… Thanx

  21. John Q. Potter on

    When I was younger, I was diagnosed with general depression and anxiety and given the smallest dose of Seroquel (10mg) that was available. It solved my problems, but made me a lethargic, apathetic zombie. A buddy suggested I try marijuana as a substitute, and the difference was night and day. Fast forward seven years to today: I’ve smoked darn near every day, and since marijuana is still a touchy subject to some elders here in Missouri, not advertised it. I wish I could count how many times I’ve been told marijuana makes a person lazy, stupid, etc. while the person telling me this had no idea I had ingested it just hours before.

    The events on the legalization front over the past couple years has made me immensely happy; I can only hope we here in Missouri will soon see the same. Keep fighting the good fight Johnny!

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