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Medical Marijuana Vs. Prescription Drugs. How Do They Differ?

By: Cory Gaiser, M.D.


Although medical marijuana has been around for a number of years, the recent decriminalization of marijuana in some states has brought the subject of medical marijuana use more into the spotlight than ever before. For many patients, the benefits of medicinal marijuana are extremely compelling, particularly when weighed against the potential risks and side effects associated with prescription drugs. At New Body Aesthetics in Cincinnati, OH, board-certified physician Dr. Cory Gaiser understands that each patient’s needs, symptoms, and preferences are unique, and is proud to offer recommendations as an alternative to prescription drugs when appropriate. Read on for an informative comparison of prescription medications vs. medicinal marijuana.

What is medicinal marijuana?

Medical marijuana, also called medical cannabis, is a plant-based therapy that offers patients a safer and more natural alternative to many prescription drugs, including opioids. Generally speaking, medical marijuana aims to provide relief from the physical and psychological symptoms of a condition rather than treating the ailment. For instance, patients suffering from cancer-related pain often get much-needed pain relief with the use of medical marijuana, though it does not necessarily treat or cure the cancer itself. Patients with the following conditions and/or symptoms may benefit from the use of medical marijuana:

  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Glaucoma

Should I use medical marijuana or prescription medication?

The choice between medicinal marijuana and traditional drugs is ultimately up to the patient and their physician, though there are certain factors to consider that may mean one or the other is most appropriate. During your consultation, Dr. Gaiser will review your medical records, discuss your condition and symptoms, perform an examination, and recommend an alternative treatment that may be right for you.

Is marijuana safer than prescription drugs?

Without a doubt, one of the most convincing arguments for the use of medical marijuana instead of prescription drugs is the lower risk of side effects, particularly compared with prescription painkillers and opioids. Known risks of prescription drugs that can be avoided by substituting medical marijuana include:

  • Overdose
  • Addiction
  • Allergic/adverse reaction
  • Drug interactions
  • Organ damage

However, patients should keep in mind that any controlled substance, including marijuana, comes with an associated risk of abuse or behavioral addiction. Additionally, marijuana use can contribute to impaired mobility, poor judgment, slow reactions, and mood disturbances. With this said, the risks and side effects of medical cannabis are generally much less severe than those associated with prescription opioids.

Find out if your symptoms can be treated in a more natural way in Cincinnati, OH

If your painful and frustrating symptoms don’t respond to traditional medications, or if you are simply looking for a safer and more natural pain relief solution, you may want to consider medical marijuana therapy instead of – or in addition to – your other prescriptions. To learn more about alternative medical therapies in Cincinnati, OH, call New Body Aesthetics to schedule your private and discrete consultation today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.