As new research continues to emerge showing how medical cannabis can be used as an alternative medicine to a myriad of everyday pharmaceuticals and painkillers; treating everything from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) to headaches, Big Pharma continues its price gouging and lack of consideration for the people that truly need medical treatment.
In October 2015, the pharmaceutical industry came under a steady barrage of fire following a series of public relations debacles that questioned the very integrity of the industry at its core. Turing Pharmaceuticals’ CEO, Martin Shkreli, became one of the most despised men in America, spiking the price of medication needed to treat people with AIDS and those suffering from parasitic infections, by an unconscionable 5,000%.
UPDATE: Indirect 2016 Studies on Medical Cannabis for ADHD
While cannabis research continues to be tightly restricted in the U.S., there has been a bit more anecdotal research investigating the use of marijuana as a treatment for ADHD. In May of 2016, a research team headed by John T. Mitchell of Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences published research under the title “I Use Weed for My ADHD”
. The study looked at anecdotal evidence on forums and message boards in which 25% of the posters attested that medical cannabis is an effective treatment of ADHD. By comparison, 8% claimed that cannabis is harmful, 5% stated they felt it could be a therapeutic treatment for ADHD but could also be harmful and 2% proclaimed that cannabis has no effect on ADHD. Another study published in a 2016 edition of European Neuropsychopharmacology
examined a cannabinoid based drug with results reinforcing that it improved cognition and behavior in test subjects suffering from ADHD. While this research still falls painfully short of a direct study of medical cannabis and its effects on ADHD, it still offers some potential illumination while we make our way toward an age where research regulations aren’t so stifling.
Unreasonable Price Spikes
Patients that had been paying $13.50 per pill were suddenly forced to pay $750 per pill overnight, infuriating those in the medical community, and competitors alike, who vowed to price-cut the medication, nearly as fast as the company’s announcement to raise the price. Adding to flames of public discontent, J. Michael Person, CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, openly admitted in a 2015 interview that the sole intentions of price gouges associated with his company were the direct result of fulfilling shareholder expectations, making no mention of the ones that need his medication the most: patients. Since taking over as CEO in 2008, Valeant's acquisition of over 100 patented pharmaceutical drugs had resulted in nearly a 1,000% percent increase in stock pricing for the company, alerting politicians and government reform agencies alike, seeking legitimate explanation. (Stats taken from www.usuncut.com)
When a new clinical study was presented at a 2015 international cannabis forum geared towards alternative medical treatments, researchers added yet another item to the list of problems that Big Pharma faced thanks to their own unscrupulous quest for unbridled profits.
Results From A Recent ADHD Study
In the recent study, German researchers evaluated 30 patients diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who had been deemed "drug resistant" to traditional ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, and other amphetamine based drugs. Of the 30 patients selected, twenty-two vowed to quit their amphetamine based drugs and only use cannabis as a means of treating their symptoms during trial period. As a result, patients experienced “improved concentration and sleep, and reduced impulsivity," in comparison to past amphetamine treatments.
For those not aware, amphetamine based ADHD medications have been controversially given to children as well as adults in order to treat ADHD symptoms including impulsivity, hyperactivity, and an overall lack of concentration when completing tasks. Anyone who’s been to college in the past 10 years knows that ADHD medications are often used by students cramming for final exams, and can be easily abused as a short term solution. Despite having a variety of unwanted side effects such as appetite loss, stomach problems, emotional extremes, headaches, and disturbed sleep among others, amphetamines are still the most common drugs prescribed to the estimated 4.7 million children in the U.S. with ADHD. The option to give children amphetamines has long been a debatable topic among parents and medical experts alike who question the long term consequences of the drug as well as its overall effectiveness, prompting many to seek natural alternatives with side effects that are less extreme.
Medical Cannabis: The Better Alternative
Prior to this latest study, research surrounding ADHD medication alternatives had usually been snuffed out by Big Pharma and other mainstream sources, perpetuating the belief that cannabis has no real medical value.
Doctors that have tried to expose the medical benefits of cannabis and other alternative treatments in states that have not legalized, have often been shunned by the medical community, gone missing, or worse, as was the case with 5 holistic health doctors that were found dead, and 5 more that mysteriously disappeared after encounters with federal agents. Luckily in California, a leading cannabis doctor by the name of David Bearman
, MD, has been detailing universal research with medical cannabis and its effects on those diagnosed with ADHD. In a recent interview with the United Patients Group, Bearman stated that “while some apply preconceptions that marijuana exacerbates ADHD, almost all California cannabinologists believe cannabis and cannabinoids have substantially improved the lives of ADHD sufferers, and with less negative side effects than common stimulant drug ADHD treatments.”
Within his research of medical cannabis as a legitimate alternative to ADHD medications, Dr. Bearman found that cannabis helped patients “pay attention in lecture, focus their attention instead of thinking of several ideas almost at the same time, and helped them to stay on task as well as do their homework.” The recent study along with Dr. Bearman’s and other expert research, should be a breath of fresh air for parents and those seeking real alternatives, not only for ADHD medications but other prescription medications that are either too expensive, ineffective, or wrought with unwanted side effects. As the landscape of marijuana research continues to expand as fast as Big Pharma’s price gouges and new medications that can oftentimes leave patients sicker then they were prior to treatment, new solutions for medical conditions will continue to surface, leading many away from prescription drugs and towards new alternatives that have yet to reach their full potential.