Cannabis: An Increasingly Popular Medicine

Stephen Andrews
10 Jan 2024

More and more people turn to medicinal cannabis to treat various health conditions. Pain management, insomnia, headaches, migraines, or lack of appetite are some of the most common health reasons why people use cannabis medicinally. Legalization and increased access to cannabis products could certainly explain the increased popularity of the plant medicine. Not only the younger, but seniors too experiment if cannabis is the right medicine for them.

Cannabis use for medicinal reasons has been on the climb in the last decade. And that’s no surprise, especially given that now the plant and the other medicinal products derived from it, are legal in more than half of the nation. 

While it’s easy to assume that cannabis use is way more normalized among the younger generations, trends indicate that seniors are reaching out for it as well. A recent federal survey has found that 8 percent of those aged 65 and above have tried cannabis in the last year. Seniors are more and more willing to give it a chance either to improve their sleep or alleviate pain and other problems associated with advanced age. 

A lot of people want to try cannabis for medicinal and health reasons when other pills don’t deliver the desired effect. That’s probably the most common reason patients of all generations go on and experiment with the herb. Sometimes it could also be the unbearability of the side effects from certain prescription drugs. 

In addition, medical users generally report positive outcomes they have with cannabis and this helps build more trust. This doesn’t mean that cannabis is a wonder drug that can help everyone and treat everything, but it has proven to function well for a range of serious and chronic diseases in so many cases. 

Of course, none of that would have been possible without legalization. Regulated markets improved the access to cannabis and created an industry where there are now all the different types of products. You can use cannabis as a powder added to the juice, as in tea, as a patch on the skin, take it as a candy, etc. Which is much more convenient for those who oppose smoking. 

The Most Common Reasons People Want Medicinal Cannabis

According to one study from 2022 that looked at reasons for cannabis use for medical purposes in the U.S. and Canada, the most commonly reported physical reasons were to manage pain (53%), followed by troubled sleep (46%), headaches and migraines (35%), appetite loss (22%), and nausea and vomiting (21%). The study included 27,169 respondents aged 16-65 who self-reported on their cannabis use. 

In the U.S., the prevalence was highest in the legal recreational states or 34%; this percentage stood at 25% in medical-only states, and 23% in illegal states. This certainly suggests that the main driver behind why more and more people turn to medical cannabis could be full legalization of the plant.

However, this study is limited in the sense that it does not include mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, or PTSD. It’s a well-known fact that these are also among the most common reasons why people are prescribed medicinal cannabis. 

Cannabis as a Substitute for Prescription Drugs

As a growing number of states integrate legal marijuana markets, more people are likely to use the plant or other marijuana-derived products as a substitute for prescription drugs. Or as supplement in some cases. 

According to one 2019 study, 44 percent of medical cannabis users stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug, or at least reduced their use as they switched to marijuana. Researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Buffalo conducted this study to assess attitudes and uses of medical cannabis and conventional treatment among cannabis consumers. 

The study, which involved 450 adults, also found out that 30% of marijuana users said their primary health care provider was not informed that they used medical cannabis, but that is an entirely different topic and a problem for discussion. 

The same study further identifies pain, depression and headaches among the main health reasons why people turn to medicinal cannabis use. 

Digging into more research, it’s very likely that these and similar conditions come up top of the list again and again as you gauge common medicinal uses of marijuana. Pain would almost always be on the lists as cannabis is a great alternative to opioids, as well as insomnia or loss of appetite. 

In conclusion, conventional medicines sometimes fail, and people, including those who have been heavily opposed to marijuana in the past, are now willing to try if cannabis can ease their pain and give them more comfort. Add to that regulated markets, with a greater diversity of safe and tested products, then who wouldn’t want to give it a chance and see if the green medicine is working for them too? 

Also read on Soft Secrets: 

What is the Difference Between Regular and Medicinal Cannabis?

When Can Medicinal Cannabis Help?

Physicians Lack Knowledge of Medical Marijuana

Stephen Andrews