One of the major reasons people seem to be turning to medical marijuana, opposed to pharmaceuticals, is the debilitating side-effects that often come with them.
Thomas, who suffers from Porphyria and Mesenteric Lymphadenitis, had been prescribed a cocktail of Tramadol, Dihydrocodeine, Oxycodone, Oramorph, Morphine Sulphate, Fentanyl, Diazepam (Valium) and Naproxen.
Thomas explained that he began treating his symptoms with cannabis as the pharmaceuticals left him “like a zombie night and day,” to the point where he “didn’t have a life.”
After Thomas decided to start using medical cannabis, his life completely changed: “Without cannabis, I wouldn’t have a life and I wouldn’t be able to be a dad to my beautiful daughter.”
It’s given me my life back.
This was a common response. Pharmaceuticals have been robbing people of their identity, as another medical cannabis patient, Amanda, who found herself addicted to prescription drugs following a traumatic event in her childhood, explained.
After surviving parental-rape, Amanda was sent into a “spiral of depression” after the birth of her second child:” The birth was so painful it brought back the memories of the trauma, having bad flashbacks etc. I hated myself so badly to the point I started self-harming.”
Like many patients suffering from PTSD and depression, Amanda was prescribed Diazepam (Valium), which gave her short-term relief. Long-term, however, the drug left Amanda feeling worse than before, leading her to be prescribed even more drugs: “it drove me more mental ill! I was put on Temazepam, Chlorpromazine, Sodium valproate and Quetiapine.”
The drugs left Amanda “numb,” exacerbating the symptoms she was trying to initially relieve:
“I was so numb that I couldn’t relate to anything. I had no emotion or motherly connection for my kids, no expression on my face. It was like my whole body was numb and I was screaming on the inside for help.
“I was suffering severe PTSD at this point. I tried to commit suicide and I even found myself hanging off a bridge.
“I didn’t want to die, I just felt I couldn’t cope with the mental abuse inside my head. I had no words for conversation. It’s quite hard to explain, to be honest.”
Amanda was able to wean herself off this toxic cocktail of drugs using cannabis. Having smoked it since 14, Amanda only realised the plant’s true medicinal value when she began to use it in a medical capacity:
“I carried on smoking weed and weaned myself off most of the meds. I got my kids back and that alone changed so much!
“Eight years later and I’m still smoking weed and only rely on one tablet (when needed) but I much prefer a joint!
“If I didn’t have weed in my life back then, I know for sure I wouldn’t be here!”
I would recommend medical cannabis to anyone!
A common side-effect patients report about antidepressant drugs is, ironically, depression and suicidal thoughts. Drew was prescribed Seraltrine, Diazepam, Zopiclone, Quetiapine, Naproxen, Zapain, and Sertraline for his mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression and OCD.
Rather than treat Drew’s depression, the drugs intensified the symptoms. Cannabis, however, provided unparalleled relief: “I can’t stand the side-effects of the Quetiapine, Zapain or the Diazepam. I was so sleepy all the time and it messed with my head.
“With the cannabis, I get none of that!
“I can wake up suicidal, but once I medicate with cannabis my mood totally changes to more positive thoughts. It also helps me deal with my pain a lot more.
“I’ve managed to stop the Zapain, Diazepam and Quetiapine and only take 100 mg of Seraltrine.”
According to David Mericle, a senior U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, the opioid crisis has become so severe in America that it may be negatively affecting the American economy, potentially costing the American economy $78.5bn a year.
According to Mericle, Americans addicted to prescription drugs are actively not looking for jobs; not only because of the numerous side-effects mentioned above but also because those applying for jobs are failing their drug tests.
Before his crippling arthritis forced him into a hip operation, Chester had been a productive worker, putting in 12-hour shifts a day. Following the operation, Chester was prescribed Tramadol, Gabapentin, Sertraline and Co-codamol, leaving him unable to return to work:
“I’ve worked all my life, 12 hours a day for the last 12 years. I’d never even taken prescription drugs until last year when I was forced to have a hip operation through ostio-arthritis.
“After the first operation, there was just pain, leading me to be prescribed several pharmaceutical drugs.
The last 11 months on the prescription drugs has totally destroyed my life.
“Since being on the tablets I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I wake up every day with no energy, and have more or less been a ‘sofa-cabbage’ for the last 11 months.”
Due to the side-effects of the prescription drugs, Chester was unable to return to work. Cannabis, however, has provided him with hope that he may one day be able to get back to a normal, working life:
“After a bit of research, I decided to stop taking these prescribed drugs and just smoking cannabis.
“After 2 months of no tablets, and just smoking cannabis, I’ve put 2 stone back on. I’ve been waking up with more energy! I’m slowly getting better.”
Leanna’s work life was also “destroyed” after she prescribed Tramadol, Pregabalin, Sertraline and morphine for Fibromyalgia and ME, leaving her “in constant pain.”
It must be remembered that cannabis is still an illegal substance, often preventing potential patients from accessing it, as Leanna explained: “I have used cannabis for a long time now. Mostly I smoke it at night to help my muscles relax and help me sleep.
“I don’t smoke it every night as it depends if I have any. But, I know when I’ve not got any how much I will struggle.
“I had a good life and a career before FMS took over me in 1998. Now it’s a constant round of medication, pain, sleep, exhaustion and everything else that goes with it.”
Due to cannabis’ Schedule I and Class B status, it can be difficult for patients to obtain the illegal drug, often forcing them to fund the black market trade, which inevitably funds violent organised crime.
Drew explained that he one of the main reasons he wants cannabis to be legalised for medicinal uses is the unreliability of the black market: “Buying from the black market is not good for people, as you haven’t a clue what you are getting!”
While some patients are forced into funding organised crime, others, who are able, choose to grow their own, like Harry, who uses cannabis to treat depression after he found that the numerous pharmaceutical drugs he was prescribed were not working:
“I’ve suffered from depression since my early 20s, I’m 48 now, and tried numerous pharmaceutical drugs. Some helped some didn’t.
“I started smoking cannabis and it really seemed to help the situation, so I decided to start growing my own.
“I didn’t need any anti-depressants and managed to hold down the same job for 13 years.”
While funding organised crime may be a serious concern for medical patients, the risk of loss of personal freedom can be greater, as Harry explained:
“On Halloween, 2012 I received the dreaded knock. I got busted for growing. They destroyed the whole lot, took away my medication.
“I then started to become stressed, anxious, etc. and ended back at the doctors. I’m now back on the drugs they supply and, unfortunately, I’m no longer able to work.”
If cannabis can help these people successfully treat the same symptoms which doctors and GPs are prescribing deadly pharmaceutical drugs for; does that alone not prove that cannabis has medicinal value? If so, it only follows basic logic that it must be immediately removed from the Schedule I classification, meaning it has “no medicinal value.”
If we do not address the growing pharmaceutical drug crisis growing in the U.K., we could end up with a situation similar to American states which do not have legal cannabis. The fact that the hospitalization rate for opioid abuse and dependence in states with medical marijuana are roughly 23% lower than states without legal access, shows just how effective legalising medicinal cannabis can be.
Have you had negative experiences with pharmaceutical drugs? Have you been able to replace these with medical marijuana? Let us know in the comments!