Medical Marijuana Patients Decrease Dependency on Prescription Drugs

shutterstock 562612936
shutterstock 562612936

A study found that medical marijuana patients in Illinois were able to reduce or eliminate the use of traditional prescription medication.

Marijuana may be a Schedule I narcotic, viewed through the same dangerous lense as LSD or heroin by federal authorities, but its reputation as an effective and safe alternative medication is rising steadily.

A new study conducted by Depaul and Rush University found that marijuana patients were able to reduce or even stop taking prescription medications. The study results come at a time where the idea of allowing marijuana use to curb opioid dependence is gaining traction.


Marijuana’s legal status has forced patients to take their own initiative when it comes to medical treatments. With few official studies on marijuana’s medicinal effects, patients have had to rely on testimonials, experimentation, and word of mouth.

“One of the most compelling things to come out of this is that people are taking control of their own health, and most providers would agree that’s a good thing,” said Bruce, assistant professor of health sciences at DePaul, according to the Chicago Tribune. “But the lack of provider knowledge around what cannabis does and doesn’t do, the difference in products and ingestion methods and dosing, is all kind of a Wild West.”

The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, a medical marijuana advocacy group pushing to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana for any ailment opioid-based medications are recommended for, was pleased to hear the study’s conclusions.

“This study confirms exactly what we know from patients,” said Alliance Chairman Ross Morreale. “A patient could use both (marijuana and prescription drugs) and see what works — that’s between the doctor and the patient.”

There are some potential drawbacks from the study to consider. The sample size was relatively small, only 30 participants. These 30 individuals were the participants who chose to respond to the study questions, meaning, as researchers pointed out, that participants could be biased toward marijuana. That does not mean the study is not without merit. It is thought to be the first peer-reviewed study on medical marijuana in Illinois.

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