Thursday, April 07, 2016 by Claire Rankin
After decades of developing drugs and and monopolising the drug industry, finally big pharmaceutical companies have some competition in the form of cannabis, for conditions ranging from pain relief to Parkinson’s disease. This certainly has pharmaceutical companies worried about protecting their profits.
It is already known that the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, both powerful influences in Washington, have long campaigned against cannabis legalization in order to protect their interests.
As medical marijuana is decriminalized, people everywhere are discovering that the alternatives to pharmaceutical medication come with fewer side effects and less dependence than prescription pills . Around the world, dependence on opioid painkillers and illicit substances such as heroin is increasing, in fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the US in the midst of a painkiller epidemic. This has resulted in overdose deaths and dependence on these sorts of drugs. Alcohol abuse is also killing Americans at an ever increasing rate.
According to a survey published in the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Review, 87 percent of patients using cannabis for various conditions gave up prescription medications all together. Adults under 40 were the most likely to give up prescription medications, alcohol or other drugs in favor of cannabis. The survey concludes by saying that “The finding that cannabis was substituted for all three classes of substances suggests that the medical use of cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the context of use of these substances, and may have implications for abstinence-based substance use treatment approaches.”
Medical marijuana at war with pharmaceutical companies?
No synthetic form of marijuana will ever be as good as a medicine that is derived from the whole marijuana plant. Despite this, the pharmaceutical companies have been falling over themselves to develop drugs from cannabis extracts. This has often had disastrous results, as a very recent experiment proves, that resulted in at least one death.
Large pharmaceutical companies won’t generally comment on the increasing use of medical marijuana and generally stick to saying things like “We don’t have a position on medicines which are aren’t approved by FDA, so unfortunately we won’t be able to offer comment.”
The fact remains though, that they are worried – not about patients – but about protecting the enormous profits they derive from chemical drugs.