In Stage IV cancer patients, who had severe pain and mental distress using other drugs such as narcotics, the use of medical marijuana for pain management has helped reduce the number of drug intakes and associated pain.
For example, medical marijuana has been used as a substitute or replacement for opiates.
While prescription drug prices continue to climb, putting the pinch on patients, there is need to seek for alternatives – with the at least corresponding level of efficacy
if not more – that has become easier to get to palliate patients health and financial demands. Research indicated that where medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety or depression — is used, there have been a significant decline in the number of several other drugs prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by consumers. It isn’t to say that saving money is directly proportional to saving lives. But the relief that comes with spending less and getting more is nothing to sneeze at. More so, since people are using, medical marijuana as medications, it's a pretty good indirect evidence that lives are being saved.
Hence, support for the proposition that greater use of marijuana should be championed as it opens the possibility that marijuana use may also decrease utilization of other drugs, such as alcohol. It can also help in the treatment of anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity.
In addition, because of the prescriptions for drugs like opioid painkillers and antidepressants — and associated spending on those drugs — fell in states where marijuana could feasibly be used as a replacement, it appears likely that its consumption led to a drop in prescriptions. That point is further strengthened because prescriptions didn't drop for medicines such as blood-thinners, for which marijuana isn't an alternative.