New study continues to support medical marijuana as a healthier option over other types of addictive medications.
A new study found that nearly half of patients using benzodiazepines stopped once they started taking medical marijuana. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, epilepsy and other diseases, and are known for producing some long term side effects and increasing the risk of addiction.
These findings were conducted by researchers in Canada and published in the journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. These scientists conducted a thorough retrospective analysis of data from patients from the Canabo Medical Clinic. Here they found records of 146 patients who regularly consumed benzodiazepines prior to their cannabis treatment.
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“Within a cohort of 146 patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy, 45.2% patients successfully discontinued their pre-existing benzodiazepine therapy,” the study found. “This observation merits further investigation into the risks and benefits of the therapeutic use of medical cannabis and its role relating to benzodiazepine use.”
The study reveals that 30% of patients stopped using benzodiazepines after their first follow-up visit with their medical cannabis provider. More followed until, by the end of the review, 66 patients had stopped taking benzodiazepines, replacing the medication with a medical form of cannabis.
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While the study continues to add more support for the marijuana plant as a possible replacement for other drugs, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. The findings make no distinction between CBD, THC, or the strain that was used in patients, making it tough for people to apply these findings in a real world setting.
“We are advising the public to observe caution,” said lead author Chad Purcell. “The results do not suggest that cannabis should be used an alternative to conventional therapies. Our purpose is inspiring others to advance current cannabis understanding as we collect stronger efficacy and safety data that will lead to responsible policy and recommended practices for use.”