1.     Opioid-Based Painkillers

So why is Big Pharma investing millions of dollars every year in researching and creating its own marijuana-based pain killers?  Because Big Pharma recognizes medicinal marijuana outshines typical medications in many ways, and the prescriptions drug companies do not want to be left behind when this is recognized on a national level.

Medicinal marijuana is indisputably beneficial in its comparative safeness.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, and nearly half of all opioid deaths involved a prescription drug.”  Since the recent Marijuana Boom in America, which began nearly a decade ago with the legalization of medical marijuana in several states such as Colorado and California, the misconception that marijuana is “a dangerous street drug” is being questioned more and more.

Currently, opioids such as Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Hydrocodone, among others, are used to treat both chronic and acute pain.  Acute pain being immediate, sharp pain, while chronic pain refers to long-term, reoccurring pain.  Foreign prescription drug companies, such as Israel-based Intec Pharma Ltd, Nemus Bioscience, and Axim Biotechnologies Inc. are all currently testing non-psychoactive Cannabidoil (CBD) in laboratories to see if these types of pain can be mitigated through the use of CBD.  With the results yet to be published, we patiently wait to see if marijuana is the next breakthrough in replacing dangerous opioids.

2.     Sleeping Aids

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported by the New York Daily News, “nearly 9 million US adults resort to prescription sleeping pills.”  Sleeping aids like Ambien and Zolpidem are not only addictive, but can lead to ER visits and possibly even death.  They become especially dangerous when paired with alcohol or other medications. There is also the risk of overdosing on sleeping pills, where no such risk exists with marijuana.

Insomnia affects individuals’ ability to function normally throughout the day.  Sufferers experience drained energy, impaired mental acuity, and altered moods.  Marijuana comes in two major strains: sativa and indica. Sativa strains tend to worsen insomnia, indica strains tend to relax the body and mind, and result in drowsiness.

For prolonged sleep, we recommend taking indica edibles, rather than smoke or vapor.  Although smoking or vaporizing makes effects immediate, the high tends to wear off after 3-4 hours, and could result in waking up in the middle of the night.  Edibles, on the other hand, take longer to kick in, but last up to 6-8 hours; so restless patients have a better chance of staying asleep throughout the whole night.  Please be cautious if you are new to edibles. Do not re-dose if their effects are not felt in the assumed timeframe.

3.     Anti-Anxiety Drugs

Anxiety disorders are often misunderstood and poorly treated… with benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium.  Although not physically addictive, this class of drugs can cause serious dependency issues.  According to the American Public Journal, reported by the New York Times, in 2013 nearly 5.6 percent of Americans filled a benzodiazepines prescription, and approximately 3 of every 100,000 people died from overdose.

In March 2014, Vanderbilt University led a study on the effectiveness of treating anxiety through medical marijuana.  They found that the cannabinoid receptors in the brain are pivotal in regulating anxiety and triggering the flight or fight responses that are essential to human survival.  Those suffering from anxiety disorders often accidently trigger these cellular responses in the cannabinoids’ communication (in the amygdala), which can then create “fake” fight or flight scenarios, resulting in unnecessary anxiety.  Since marijuana produces endocannabinoids and affects the same receptors in the brain, its use can help regulate anxiety and alleviate anxiety disorders.

It should be noted, the same study also found that some of the heavy, habitual users actually incurred the opposite effect, and showed increased levels of anxiety.

Big Pharma is predicting a giant increase in the number of Americans wanting marijuana-based painkillers, sleeping aids, and calmers. When the laws change, they expect to be ready.