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Which One is Better: Medicinal Cannabis or Pharmaceutical Drugs?

2 Mins read

Comparing the effects of cannabis-containing and common drugs on diseases is a hot topic these days.

Common drugs, also known as pharmaceutical medicine, are seen by many as more reliable options. Because of that, they are easy to find and, most of the time, cheap. Nonetheless, a single common drug mainly focuses on relieving only one condition.

On the other hand, cannabis-containing drugs are noted to be effective in relief against conditions such as: 

*Neuropathic pain

*Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting 

*Persistent epilepsy 

*Spasticity from multiple sclerosis

*AIDS-related cachexia

*Palliative care conditions. 

Cannabis may also be beneficial for conditions such as:

*Generalised anxiety disorder 

*Parkinson’s disease

*Alzheimer’s disease

*Demyelinating disease.

It may also be helpful for cancer treatment, but more information and research are needed.

Despite its advantages, please note that cannabis has side effects like regular drugs and consult your doctor before any usage.

Is marijuana safer than prescribed medications?

The lower risk of negative effects, especially compared to prescribed painkillers and opioids, is undoubtedly one of the strongest cases for choosing medical cannabis over common drugs. The following side effects of common drugs can be avoided by switching to medical cannabis instead:

*Overdose

*Addiction

*Adverse/allergic reaction

*Substance interactions

*Organ injury

Of course, patients should be aware of the danger of abuse or addiction to any regulated substance, including cannabis. Additionally, cannabis usage can cause mood swings, sluggish reflexes, poor judgment, and reduced mobility. Medical cannabis often carries far fewer dangers and negative effects than prescribed painkillers.

TASP (Treatment-as-Prevention) Initiative

TASP aims to help HIV patients by limiting the spread of such conditions. For this aim, medical cannabis is an important substance to analyse.

TASP’s statement on medical cannabis use is as follows:

*Cancer pain: Low to moderate-quality evidence shows that medicinal cannabis products (MCs) are better than placebos (drugs with mainly psychological effects). However, it is important to note that their side effects increase with higher doses.

*Palliative care conditions: With MCs, there is low-quality evidence showing increasing appetite and weight gain but no difference in sleep, depression, or quality of life. Its side effects may impact the patient quality of life.

*Neuropathic pain: Evidence is insufficient to show MCs are better than the standard treatment. MCs have more significant side effects. TASP does not recommend MC use over the standard treatment.

*Headache: There needs to be more evidence showing MCs reduce headaches. TASP does not recommend MCs for headaches.

*Pain from multiple sclerosis (MS): According to evidence, MCs relieve spasticity and pain from MS; however, TASP does not see MCs as a primary option. MCs may be considered to use if standard treatment fails or is associated with severe side effects. Close monitoring and careful evaluation are needed.

*Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain: MSK pain can usually be relieved by standard treatment. Fibromyalgia, however, does not respond well to treatment. The evidence of the benefit and risks of MCs for fibromyalgia is still unclear. Also, the interaction between MCs and other analgesics should be a concern.

The Thai Association for the Study of Pai has also published a statement about the use of medicinal cannabis. It indicates the effectiveness of cannabis usage against cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and pain from multiple sclerosis, but not for headaches.

Which one should I choose?

The answer to this question depends on so many variables. Some may not know what their body can and cannot handle. That is why it is important to consult your doctor. Only through correct definition and analysis can the discomforts caused by conditions go away.

References

https://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/2021/07001/Medicinal_cannabis_in_Thailand__1_year_experience.9.aspx?context=FeaturedArticles&collectionId=1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6625880/

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About author
Cenk Cetin is a cannabis tech entrepreneur based in Thailand. He is dedicated to the digital transformation of retailers and has a can-do mentality to any task related.
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