What are legal alternatives to marijuana?

Medical Use of Marijuana

Marijuana is derived from Cannabis sativa and used both medicinally and recreationally, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It contains the compounds THC and CBD, which affect the body and brain to produce relief from a variety of symptoms associated with medical conditions.

The impact of marijuana on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain also produces the feeling of being high, which drives its use as a recreational drug.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana for use as a medicine, it is legal in some states for medicinal purposes and in some states for both medicinal and recreational use.

A recent study from the Journal of Pain Research found that 46 percent of respondents reported using cannabis as an alternative to prescription narcotics, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. People were more likely to substitute cannabis for other prescriptions if they were suffering from pain conditions, depression, and anxiety. 

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Aggravating Factors

If the circumstances of a marijuana possession crime involve aggravating factors, a defendant likely can’t take advantage of the non-jail options described above. Common examples of aggravating factors include:

  • possession near a school (or other drug-free) zone
  • possession in the presence of a minor, or giving marijuana (even small amounts) to a minor
  • repeat convictions for possession or other offenses
  • growing or possessing marijuana with the intent to sell it, and
  • driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or both

A Few Words About CBD

Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) has been sky rocketing in popularity in recent years. Some people add CBD to their daily regimen, their after workout smoothies, or even to their pet’s diets. CBD is the second most prominent active constituent in marijuana (cannabis). Typically though, it is harvested and derived from the close cousin of marijuana, the hemp plant. CBD is not responsible for any psychoactive high, and displays no addictive properties or sign of dependence.10 It does not appear to cause any health problems and is traded as though it were legal in nearly all countries and within all of the United States. There are some general restrictions against the sale, purchase, and use of CBD in some states, but nearly no territory in the United States enforces any of these restrictions (where they do exist).

Although no critical health concerns are associated with the use of CBD, there are some common experiences which are somewhat undesirable. Some of these ailments include fatigue, irritability, and nausea. It can increase the amount of coumadin in the blood, but ultimately so do some very common foods (such as highly acidic grapefruit).11 While the FDA does not typically regulate the safety or quality of CBD products, it is still regularly sold as a supplement.

Why CBD Oils?

For those who don’t want to smoke medical marijuana, CBD oil is one of several alternatives that can provide the same medicinal effects as smoking weed, as well as treat other health problems including anxiety and depression. The oil can also reduce the side effects of cancer treatments such as nausea and vomiting that come from chemotherapy (although, we have to be clear: CBD does not guarantee to cure, prevent or diagnose medical conditions).

Using CBD oil can also reduce an old teenage woe – acne. CBD oil stops your face from producing the excess oils that eventually cause acne, and it also works as an anti-inflammatory agent on your skin. It can even work to prevent seizures in both adults/young children and help treat addiction.

What Alternatives to Marijuana Are Available?

There are some alternatives to marijuana that can be used to treat some of the same symptoms and conditions. These include other herbs and plants and some over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Natural herbs and plants have been used for centuries to treat various conditions and to supplement health in other ways. Some herbs also contain natural cannabinoids that can act on the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain as marijuana.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provides information on many different natural substances that are used to treat many of the same symptoms and conditions in which marijuana is used. While they may prove useful for some people, they also have some associated risks. The research has not always been conclusive on some of these substances.

These have been explored as potential remedies for the same symptoms and conditions that marijuana is used for. Herbs that can be used as potential substitutes include:

  • Kava-kava. This botanical is a substance that can induce relaxation, calm anxiety, and relieve stress. It has also been linked to a risk of liver disease, which is increased if combined with alcohol
  • Valerian root. This is a flowering plant that is available as an herbal supplement to treat insomnia and anxiety, but the evidence associated with it is inconsistent. It is generally safe but can cause headache or dizziness, itching, and stomach upset
  • Ginger. This herb can be used as a natural nausea remedy, and it has been used to treat stomach upset for centuries. Ginger can be made into tea, eaten raw, and used to make ginger ale in order to treat nausea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. It may have some interactions with blood thinners
  • Turmeric and black pepper. This commonly used spice combination can be taken as an oil or herbal supplement and used as an anti-inflammatory agent. The two substances are more effective when combined and have been used for arthritis, gallbladder problems, liver, skin, and stomach conditions. The combination is generally safe, but high doses may cause stomach upset
  • Coneflower (Echinacea). This flowering plant is often used to boost the immune system. It can alleviate arthritis, inflammation, migraines, and anxiety. It is safe to take, but research has been inconclusive about its effectiveness.

Over-the-counter or prescription remedies include:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. Since medical marijuana is commonly used to treat pain, over-the-counter pain relievers can be substituted to reduce pain in many cases.
  • Anti-nausea medications. There are prescription options for nausea relief, including medications like Zofran.

These alternative options can be explored, and people may find they provide effective relief for some of the same symptoms they previously used marijuana to treat.

The dosage amount of any given supplement impacts the effectiveness and risks associated with the substance, so it is essential to discuss these options with a doctor.

Using Weed For Pain, Stress, etc

Using the entire cannabis plant and getting all of the natural chemicals and strains (including CBD and THC) can allow for the most benefit. Using either pure CBD or THC separately can give different results when relieving your pain. THC can contribute to the feeling of being high, but taking CBD along with it can help to lessen the effect.

In addition, the CBD strain helps the THC last longer, to further extend the effects of your pain relief. Who doesn’t want that?

Medical marijuana can also help ease stress, pain, anxiety and so much more, but only in the correct dosage. The proper dosage is important to receive the full benefit.

But at Quitnet, we can already see the question forming in your head. You know about all this and the benefits, but you still have to ask: “what if I don’t want to smoke weed?”

The Alternative

Many families like Haleigh and her mom are flocking to other legal cannabis states for the same reasons. Most of them want to improve their lives and live healthy lifestyles, void of negative impact of their past medical condition. When traditional healthcare is no longer effective, then families have no other choice but to flock to legal cannabis states for alternative treatment.

There are more than twenty five legal cannabis states that have made recreational and medical marijuana available to people with chronic health conditions.

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