Trouble for Big Pharma as Nearly 50% of People Report Quitting Pills for CBD

By Carey Wedler

According to a recent survey conducted by cannabis market research firm the Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online medical cannabis community, nearly half of CBD (cannabidiol) users give up prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications in favor of the non-psychoactive substance.

The survey of over 2,400 respondents found forty-two percent of CBD users — whether they used marijuana-derived CBD or hemp-derived CBD — “have left their traditional medications behind altogether and now use cannabis instead.”

The survey summarized that roughly “66% of CBD users indicated that CBD products are either ‘more effective’ or ‘much more effective’ in relieving their medical conditions than are over-the-counter (OTC) products.”

Further, “[a]pproximately 52% of this consumer group indicated that their CBD products are either ‘more effective’ or ‘much more effective’ in relieving medical conditions than are prescription medications.”

Common conditions users have employed CBD to treat include joint pain and inflammation, insomnia, depression, and, most often, anxiety. Preliminary research on CBD shows the cannabis derivative can be effective at treating some of these ailments.

When given the option to list “other” uses, survey respondent frequently cited “menstrual cramps, skin concerns, diabetes, ADHD, and stomach issues (IBS, loss of appetite, etc.).”

Respondents expressed satisfaction with the quality of treatment CBD provides:

When asked about medical relief, more than four out of five CBD users found cannabis to work either extremely effectively or very effectively against their various conditions. Each of the individual categories under the CBD umbrella fared well, with the vast majority (82-83%) of users experiencing effective relief with the use of hemp-derived CBD, CBD-dominant and marijuana-derived CBD-only products to help treat their conditions.

Ninety percent reported they were likely to buy plant-derived CBD products again, and many reported using a variety of products rather than just one. Most reported vaping as their preferred means of administering their medication.

One of the chief complaints about CBD was that plant-derived CBD was more effective than hemp-derived CBD but that the former is more expensive than the latter (still, slightly more respondents said hemp CBD was more effective at treating nausea, whereas plant CBD was reportedly more effective at treating arthritis).

Indeed, in the Los Angeles area, for example, a half-gram of plant-derived CBD can cost as much as $50. The higher the CBD ratio, the higher the price.

Even so, HelloMD notes that due to the “entourage effect,” CBD can actually be more effective when administered with other cannabinoids, like well-known THC (and vice-versa). One preliminary study of cannabis’ anti-tumor effects found the substance’s effectiveness increased when CBD and THC were combined.

Cannabis, in general – not just CBD — poses a major threat to a variety of industries, namely Big Pharma. One analysis has found that the pharmaceutical industry could lose as much $4 billion per year in profits as cannabis continues to be legalized. Another survey of cannabis users conducted by researchers from UC Berkeley and Kent State University found that “Ninety-seven percent of the sample ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that they are able to decrease the amount of opiates they consume when they also use cannabis, and 81% ‘strongly agreed/agreed’ that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioids.”

If and when cannabis becomes part of the mainstream healthcare industry, the pharmaceutical industry could lose billions of dollars. Unsurprisingly, pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics, which has profited off the powerful and dangerous opioid fentanyl, also manufactures a synthetic cannabis product and has lobbied to keep cannabis illegal in Arizona).
Of course, the recent survey has at least one limitation in that it was conducted among people who clearly value cannabis enough to join an online cannabis community, meaning that the reported figures might be lower among the general population that has used cannabis.

Even so, research increasingly confirms the survey’s findings, and as cannabis becomes increasingly acceptable and available, it’s likely CBD will continue to change the way people treat their health issues.

All the while, the DEA continues to assert that CBD is illegal (even though hemp CBD is widely available online) because it is derived from the marijuana plant, ignoring the fact that it is non-psychoactive and is providing relief to a majority of people who use it — without the serious side effects that come with many government-approved treatments.

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