Last summer, a market research survey reported that 42 percent of the 2,400+ respondents stopped taking traditional pharmaceuticals after finding that cannabis- and/or hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) seemed equally effective in treating their symptoms. Moreover, 66 percent of those surveyed thought that CBD was more effective than over-the-counter products in providing relief, and 52 percent thought it was more effective than prescription medication.
Survey responses like this leave many drug companies fearing that cannabis will be to pharmaceuticals what Uber was to traditional taxis. Even a 10-percent reduction in traditional pharmaceutical sales would have a huge impact on the industry, considering it's currently a trillion-dollar market worldwide.
Of course, the number of caveats involved in these findings are many. For example, it's likely that people taking CBD are positively predisposed to its perceived benefits, and the general public is limited in its ability to accurately self-report health improvements. Nevertheless, this observational evidence is consistent with countless clinical findings that suggest cannabis has a wide range of medical benefits.
The government currently classifies cannabis as Schedule I, a status reserved for highly dangerous and addictive drugs without any medical value. But like Bob Dylan said, the times are a changin'. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently owns patents on the medical benefits of cannabis compounds, and it seems likely to approve cannabis-derived Epidiolex for medical use by late June.
Sure, corporate lobbyists are doing their best to delay changes, and Alex Azar—a former Big Pharma executive and the current Secretary of Health and Human Services—even claimed, "There really is no such thing as medical marijuana." That said, the Trump appointee has repeatedly required hospital care for a chronic bowel condition, so it's quite obvious that he's literally full of shit.
Medical cannabis is going mainstream, and the lobbyists and bureaucrats can only stall for so long.