05 April 2015

Cannabis v Pharmaceuticals

The pharmaceutical industry (BIG Pharma) would like everyone to believe that the key to health can be found in a pill. The only problem is the resulting side effects – which result in the opposite of good health. But there is an alternative. Cannabis! Let’s check out how pills stack up against cannabis for serious health conditions.

Pharm Choice: Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac increase levels of the vital neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain
Side Effects: Decreased libido, birth defects, increased suicide in those under 25. Can trigger potentially fatal 'Serotonin Syndrome'
Cannabis: Provides safe, controlled euphoria. Those switching from Zoloft to cannabis report improved outlook
Drawbacks: Improved outlook makes repeats of Friends actually seem funny

Pharm Choice: Drugs from Anzamet to Zofran reduce activity of the nerve that induces vomiting and block receptors associated with nausea.
Side Effects: Constipation, potential arrhythmia (disturbed heart rhythm), Parkinson’s-like symptoms. Bonus: Nightmares worthy of Freddy Kruger! In Australia "Anti-nausea drugs such as Ondansetron may cause 'Serotonin Syndrome' when combined with other serotoninergic drugs such as antidepressants. The TGA warns."
Cannabis: Cannabis quells nausea! Who need drugs! But you’ve got a new problem. The 'munchies'!

Pharm Choice: Topical eye drops are commonly used to decrease the thick, watery substance that causes intra-ocular pressure.
Side Effects: A whole host of eye problems, from blurred vision to permanent change in eye colour to brown.
Cannabis: Since the 1970's, studies have shown that cannabis is highly effective in lowering intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients.

Pharm Choice: Scary-sounding hypnotics like benzodiazepines, plus good ol’ sleeping pills and sedatives.
Side Effects: How can I overdose? Let me count the ways. Expect psychological dependence/addiction. You can’t sleep without your little helper.
Cannabis: A powerful indica puts you to sleep with no chance of overdose and no chemical/booze hangover.

Pharm Choice: Short-acting agents like Salbutamol relive bronchospasms. Agents like Salmeterol last three times as long.
Side Effects: Salbutamol is known to cause anxiety and tremors. Salmeterol can cause a bad case of death ("those on Salmeterol appeared to have a three times greater risk of death").
Cannabis: Opens up airways without killing you.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Australia, with 43,946 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2012. CVD kills one Australian every 12 minutes and is one of Australia's largest health problems. Despite improvements over the last few decades, it remains one of the biggest burdens on our economy.
Pharm Choice: Statins (drugs that lower cholesterol) are widely prescribed. Aspirin is effective for its anti-clotting properties.
Side Effects: Headaches, nausea, weakness, infections – plus they can’t be used by pregnant women. Aspirin can cause stomach bleeding.
Cannabis: Studies on mice show that cannabis reverses artery clogging and can protect the heart from further damage after heart attacks.

Pharm Choice: A cornucopia of antidepressants are on the market. MDMA has been tested in several studies.
Side Effects: Sexual problems, sleep difficulties, nausea. Some side effects worsen. Expect withdrawal symptoms if you quit dosing.
Cannabis: Regulates unpleasant memories that cause PTSD nightmares and flashbacks. Sativa induces euphoria.

Pharm Choice: In the US, up to five drugs are currently available, which may slow Alzheimer’s by producing the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine. In Australia, three drugs are commonly prescribed: Donepezil (Aricept); Rivastigmine (Exelon); Galantamine (Razadyne).
Side Effects: The efficacy of these drugs has yet to be solidly demonstrated. They can trigger anorexia and slowed heart rate.
Cannabis: Cannabinoids reduce the inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s in human brain tissue and prevent cell death by anti-oxidation.

Pharm Choice: If you don’t know, then you don’t own a TV!
Side Effects: “For erections lasting four hours, seek medical treatment” pretty much says it all.
Cannabis: Doesn’t necessarily increase blood flow to certain body parts, it’s power as a safe, mild aphrodisiac is however well known.

Pharm Choice: Analgesics from aspirin to opiates work in various ways on the nervous system.
Side Effects: Painful constipation, raging addiction, possible overdose.
Cannabis: Augments analgesics by preventing the tolerance that users build up with traditional painkillers.

adapted from High Times

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