UM: Nearly half of patients prefer medical marijuana over medication

Researchers surveyed 450 adults in Ann Arbor

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Photo: Pixabay

ANN ARBOR - A new study at the University of Michigan found that many people are substituting medical marijuana for prescription drugs.

Led by Daniel Kruger of the U-M Institute for Social Research and Jessica Kruger, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Buffalo, the study "found that 44 percent of medical cannabis users stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug, or used less of one, or both, in favor of cannabis."

The researchers conducted the study to gauge users' attitudes about the newly legalized drug and the traditional health care system.

"This study advances knowledge in the evidence-based approach to harm reduction and benefit promotion regarding medical cannabis," Daniel Kruger said in a statement. "Given the growing use of cannabis for medical purposes and the widespread use for recreation purposes despite criminalization, the current public health framework focusing primarily on cannabis abstinence appears obsolete."

Generally, people use medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, headaches and depression.

The study found that nearly a third of its participants said their health provider was not aware that they used medical marijuana, indicating inconsistencies between the care systems.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 450 adults at the University of Michigan who identified as current marijuana users at an annual cannabis law reform event.

In addition, users were found to have more trust in medical marijuana as opposed to the mainstream health care system because they found cannabis to outperform pharmaceutical drugs on the basis of side effects, effectiveness, availability and cost.

The results of the study can be found in the latest issue of Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

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