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Marijuana vs. Pharmaceutical Drugs: the Case for Ditching Prescription Medicines for Marijuana

Grow Team
Last Updated: 
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As more states in the U.S. and other countries worldwide legalize Marijuana, the debate of Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs is heating up.

In this article, we will explore the case for medical Marijuana vs. prescription drugs.

We’ll look at the legality of Marijuana in the U.S. the consider the research. Finally, for individuals in states where Marijuana is legal, we share with you the possibility of growing Marijuana at home with a marijuana home garden installation.

What you will learn from this article about Marijuana vs. Prescription Medicine.

  1. The legality of Marijuana in the United States of America
  2. Research: More people are ditching pharmaceutical drugs for Marijuana
  3. Are there any marijuana-based Pharmaceutical drugs?
  4. The case for Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs
  5. The case against Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs
  6. Marijuana home garden installation
  7. Final thoughts marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs


The legality of Marijuana in the United States of America

At the federal level, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 makes it illegal to possess and use Marijuana (cannabis).

The Controlled Substances Act classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug.

However, at the state level, several states have legalized Marijuana for either or both medical use or recreational use, which directly contradicts the federal law that prohibits the use of Marijuana even for medical purposes.

In 35 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, it is legal to use Marijuana for medical purposes as long as one has a recommendation from a doctor.

Thirteen other states have laws that limit THC content to allow access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of cannabis.

Fifteen states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam have legalized the recreational use of Marijuana.

Another 16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized the use of Marijuana.

You may wonder how one is legally allowed to use Marijuana at the state level. Yet, they are prohibited at the federal level since Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug.

That rider amendment – the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment passed into law in 2014 prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws. It does so by denying the  U.S. Department of Justice (the DOJ) funds to prosecute individuals complying with local state medical-marijuana laws.


Research: More people are ditching pharmaceutical drugs for Marijuana

A study the looks at Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs dubbed “Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs – a cross-sectional study” reveals that the use of medical cannabis is increasing, most commonly for pain, anxiety, and depression.

It also unearths data that suggest that the use and abuse of prescription drugs may be decreasing in states where medical cannabis is legal.

The study was based on a research interview of 2,774 individuals recruited through social media and cannabis dispensaries in Washington State.

The study findings were:

A total of 1,248 (46%) respondents reported using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs.

The most common classes of drugs substituted were narcotics/opioids (35.8%), anxiolytics/benzodiazepines (13.6%), and antidepressants (12.7%).

A total of 2,473 substitutions were reported or approximately two drug substitutions per affirmative respondent.

The odds of reporting substituting were 4.59 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.87–5.43) greater among medical cannabis users compared with non-medical users and 1.66 (95% CI, 1.27–2.16) greater among those reporting use for managing the comorbidities of pain, anxiety, and depression.

A slightly higher percentage of those who reported substituting resided in states where medical cannabis was legal at the time of the survey (47% vs. 45%, p=0.58), but this difference was not statistically significant.

In another study – Substituting cannabis for prescription drugs, alcohol, and other substances among medical cannabis patients: The impact of contextual factors  –  87% (n = 410) of respondents confirm substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs, with 80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances.

What is clear, as more people understand the medical value of Marijuana, more of them will switch from over-the-counter medicines.

Are there any marijuana-based Pharmaceutical drugs?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana or cannabis plant for any medical use. Yet, there is a hot debate making rounds in medical and academic circles on the vast potential of Marijuana for medical purposes.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain pharmaceutical drugs based on THC, the primary element in a marijuana plant.

THC is proven to have medical benefits.

In particular formulations, the FDA has approved marijuana-based drugs like dronabinol (Marinol and nabilone (Cesamet) to treat nausea in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite in patients with wasting syndrome due to AIDS.

Many more marijuana-based medications have been approved or are undergoing clinical trials around the world.


The case for Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs

The research shows that more people are opting for Marijuana over pharmaceutical drugs. But why?

  1. Marijuana treats many conditions and diseases.

Pharmaceutical drugs are often made to treat one ailment under a set of conditions. Marijuana, on the other hand, is proven to treat several disorders, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression, anxiety, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • According to the 2017, NASEM report cannabis reduced pain by 40% in patients with cancer, peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain from diabetes), spinal cord injury, HIV or complex regional pain syndrome, chemotherapy, and multiple sclerosis muscle and joint problems,  and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Improves the quality of life of older persons who have fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
  1. Marijuana has fewer side effects compared to prescription drugs

Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, MD, wrote the following in December. 14, 2002 editorial published in The Globe and Mail :

“[T]obacco, through its direct physical effects, kills many thousands of people every year. So does alcohol. And it is easy to fatally overdose on alcohol, just as you can fatally overdose on prescription drugs or even over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). I don’t believe that anyone has ever died from a marijuana overdose.”


The case against Marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs

The argument against Marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs is the infancy in testing and researching the long-term effects of using Marijuana on humans.

Drug Watch International stated in its online position statement on medical Marijuana, last updated on May 17, 2001:

“There is no scientific evidence that Marijuana, which contains over 450 chemicals, many with harmful effects, is safe or effective for any medical condition. Synthetic THC, dronabinol, has been approved by the FDA for limited use as an anti-emetic agent for chemotherapy patients who fail to respond to other drugs and as an appetite stimulant in low dosages for patients with AIDS wasting syndrome. This pharmaceutical is available by prescription (Marinol) and differs from crude Marijuana in that it is a single, pure substance in stable, quantified dose.”


Grow Marijuana at home with a Marijuana home garden installation

If you live in a state or country where Marijuana is legal, then you can grow this medicinal herb for your personal consumption.

In Arizona, Proposition 207 legalized the possession and use of Marijuana for adults aged 21 years and older). The legislature permits growing up to six (individual) and 12 (more than two adults) marijuana plants in their residences, as long as the plants are grown outside public view.

At Marijuana, seed connect, we can set up for you a marijuana home garden installation, supply you with Prop207 marijuana seeds and Outdoor Marijuana grow house kits


Final thoughts marijuana vs. pharmaceutical drugs


It is an open secret that big pharma will ferociously defend its turf. With the wildly rising preference for Marijuana over prescription drugs, so will the smear campaign against Marijuana, including unprecedented lobbying in government echelons.

But that will never shave off the surging move from prescription medicines to Marijuana.

The legalization of Marijuana has opened the lid to investigations and research into the potential of Marijuana.

As research into this wonder crop unfolds, Marijuana will undoubtedly be accepted as the perfect alternative to pharmaceuticals not just here in the U.S but around the world.

Hopefully, we’ll identify with the words of Mollie Fry, MD, in the ProCon.org interview in April. 7, 2006:

“I took an oath to do no harm. If a doctor is willing to give you a prescription for a drug that is addictive or could kill you, then why should you not be able to choose a non-toxic drug like Marijuana?”



  1. 2020, October 21. Is Marijuana safe and effective as medicine?. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-safe-effective-medicine on 2021, February 5

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