Canada recently concluded a study on the benefits of medical cannabis and found that the plant was not only effective in pain management, but that it also helped with addiction to more harmful vices.
The study found that cannabis use can diminish a user’s dependency on tobacco, alcohol and other dangerous drugs like painkillers. The research is one of the first major studies to make the connection between cannabis and substance addiction. The study asserts that cannabis can help you get off drugs, and is not the “gateway drug” that it has been described as for years.
The International Journal of Drug Policy released the findings. Participants of the research project were asked to complete an online survey comprised of “107 questions on demographics, patterns of use, and cannabis substitution effect.” In total 271 individuals participated in the study.
Within the study, a massive 63 percent used cannabis in lieu of prescription drugs. Of those individuals, 30 percent said they used cannabis instead of opioids.
It also found that 16 percent of patients questioned consumed cannabis as an alternative to benzodiazepines for their anxiety and insomnia, and 12 percent preferred cannabis for their depression instead of using antidepressants.
For social situations, 25 percent reported that they used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, and 12 percent replaced their tobacco products with cannabis.
Arguably the most troubling part of the study found that 42 percent of those questioned had to obtain their cannabis though illegal or unregulated sources. This creates not only an unsafe scenario for the patients, but also a tax revenue loss for Canada. The country is spending millions of dollars a year fighting a problem that can generate billions of dollars for them. As the stigma of cannabis falls away, hopefully someone will decide that either the social or financial benefits of cannabis greatly outweighs any supposed negative byproducts.