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Cannabis vs Diazepam: data & facts

by Viola Brugnatelli · Published May 5, 2015 · Updated November 21, 2017

Cannabis vs Diazepam (Valium)

As a scientist, I firmly believe in the power of data and facts.

That is why I wanted the facts I am presenting here to speak for themselves.

Diazepam (Valium) is a member of the Benzodiazepine family of drugs. It is prescribed for treating anxiety, pain, seizures and muscle spasms.

Paradoxically, amongst its frequent side effects, there are agitation and anxiety, muscle spasticity and tremor along with a long list of many other.

Yet, at contrary of Cannabis and its many therapeutical uses, Diazepam is one of the most prescribed medications, both in infants and elderly.

According to USA government estimates, doctors issue about 15 million Diazepam prescriptions annually in the United States only.

Abuse of benzodiazepines is very common, especially for the highly addictive properties of the drug.

The number of people admitted to treatment programs for abusing this drug increased nearly 570 percent from 2000 to 2010. (1)

Comparison of therapeutic properties: Cannabis vs Diazepam

Disease target Cannabis Diazepam
Diseases of Energy Metabolism Appetite regulation
Cachexia-Anorexia
Pain and Inflammation Acute pain (chemical, mechanical, thermal)
Chronic pain (inflammatory, neuropathic)
Central Nervous System Disorders Alzheimer’s Disease
Epilepsy Epilepsy
Insomnia Insomnia
Multiple Sclerosis
Nausea and emesis
Neurotoxicity and neurotrauma
Spinal Cord Injury
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Stroke
Movement Disorders (Basal Ganglia Disorders) Dystonia
Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome
Huntington’s disease
Muscle spasms Muscle spasms
Parkinson’s disease and levodopa-induced dyskinesia
Tardive dyskinesia
Mental Disorders Anxiety Anxiety
Bipolarism
Delirium tremens
Depression
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disorders Asthma
Atherosclerosis
Circulatory Shock
Hypertension
Myocardial Reperfusion Injury
Cancer Antiprolific
Eye Disorders Glaucoma
Retinopathy
Gastrointestinal and Liver Disorders Hepatitis
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Liver cirrhosis
Musculoskeletal Disorders Arthritis
Osteoporosis

Comparison of side effects: Cannabis vs Diazepam

As you scroll along the list, you will notice that in order to match the two colomns with corresponding “in target” effects, the effects on the left-side colomn (Cannabis) are often beneficial.

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Viola Brugnatelli is a Neuroscientist specialised in Cannabinoid circuitry & GPCRs signalling. Her academy and research training let her gain extensive experience on medical cannabis and terpenes both from preclinical as well as clinical perspective. In her vision, collective human knowledge behold the power for overall improvement of life, thus, it should be accessible and shareable. Viola is Founder of the science online magazine Nature Going Smart, and works as a consultant for companies & individual patients, as a speaker at seminars and workshops and as a lecturer in a CME course on Medical Cannabis in Italy, at the University of Padua.

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8 Responses

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Very interested. I have epilepsy, depression, insomnia , muscle spasms , and PTSD .

Dear Victoria,
we are sorry to hear this. We have quiet a lot of material that cover these topics if you like to check out:

We hope you will feel better soon.
If you have any enquiry please don’t hesitate to contact us, we do offer a consulting service as well.

I have COPD any help for that using Cannabis?

Hello,
Cannabis is a great anti-inflammatory & bronchodilator, it would definitely aid the inflamed lining of airways to distend & decrease the overproduction of mucus, thus making it easier to breathe. It would help you if you have chronic bronchitis, however, make sure to never intake cannabis by smoking, as it may worsen your symptoms. You can check our guides on vaporizers & tea.
All best!

This is a load of crap. The side effects listed are rare, which you forgot to mention. A shame you didn’t list the effects that diazepam usually has on people (such as a decrease in anxiety, treatment for insomnia, etc.). . Reading this list you would think that diazepam causes restlessness and anxiety in everyone( among other things), which is the complete opposite of what it actually does. I won’t deny that the potential for abuse is probably pretty high, but marijuana is actually abused much more frequently. I have a kid that uses it, and he has turned into a lazy slob since he started using it. He no longer has any motivation, which is a side effect that was left out.

Hi Stacie, thanks for sharing your views. Very important points you are making. I am sorry to hear you feel this article isn’t representing the reality you are experiencing. It is true that some people have the impression that cannabis impairs motivation in chronic users. For this reason scientists at USC have carried out a large study on 487 individuals who consume daily cannabis and from their results: “Robust statistical methods controlling for heteroscedasticity, non-normality and extreme values found no differences in motivation but a small difference in subjective wellbeing. Medical users of cannabis reporting health problems tended to account for a significant portion of subjective wellbeing differences, suggesting that illness decreased wellbeing.Thus, daily use of cannabis does not impair motivation.”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1435998/
So it seems that rather then being the trigger to a lack of motivation, cannabis might be used (or abused) when in lack of motivation, to hinder a stressed or simply bored state.
I Hope this information will support an informed & loving conversation with your son.
Best

I have asthma, fybromyalgia, polymiositis, cervical spondylosis, osteoarthritis. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, carpel tunnel, an underactive thyroid (post surgery after graves disease), am bipolar as well as having anxiety and depression, I am a high function autistic … I take a number of meds to manage my illnesses which over time have been minimised as much as I can to the very basic pharma medications, which includes (recently) gastro meds for silent gastric reflux disease. I also take vitamins and mineral supplements (garlic, selenium, brewers yeast, vit c and vit c with zinc, ginge) in my efforts to minimise pharma meds which were making me more ill than my illnesses. I really want to try cbd oil but don’t know how to go about this and whether or not to try drops under the tongue or vaping. How would I go about trying the use of cbd alongside the above meds?

Hello,
Thank you for entrusting in us. Medical cannabis has indeed greatly benefited patients suffering from many of the conditions that you mention; However, as for dosages, administration forms and possible interactions with current meds, you need to discuss this with your physician who will prescribe your tailored therapy. I hope this helps, best of luck!

As a scientist, I firmly believe in the power of data & facts. That's why I wanted the facts I am presenting to speak for themselves: Cannabis vs Diazepam

Can Marijuana Cause Deadly Drug Interactions?

Chelsea Clinton recently suggested that marijuana might be deadly when taken with other drugs. But is this really true?

Although marijuana can interact with other drugs, there do not appear to be any reports of deaths that directly resulted from taking marijuana in combination with other drugs.

While speaking in Ohio on Sept. 24, Clinton was asked whether her mother, Hillary Clinton, supports changing the way marijuana is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration so that it would be easier for researchers to conduct studies on the drug. Chelsea Clinton replied that her mother does support research on marijuana. Then, she added, “But we also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado, where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking.”

A spokesperson for Clinton later said Clinton “misspoke about marijuana’s interaction with other drugs contributing to specific deaths,” according to The Huffington Post.

By itself, marijuana is not known to have direct lethal effects. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, no overdose deaths from marijuana have been reported in the United States.

In addition, the evidence that marijuana may interact with other drugs is limited, according to a 2007 review paper in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

Still, marijuana does appear to interact with a number of drugs, the review said. If marijuana is taken with alcohol, benzodiazepines (drugs that treat anxiety) or muscle relaxants, the combination can result in “central nervous system depression,” the review said, which means that people can experience decreased breathing and heart rate, and loss of consciousness. [How 8 Common Medications Interact with Alcohol]

There also have been reports of people experiencing a rapid heart rate and delirium after using marijuana while taking older forms of antidepressants (known as tricyclic antidepressants), the review said.

Marijuana may also interact with drugs that are broken down by enzymes in the liver known as cytochrome P450 enzymes, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s because a compound in marijuana called cannabidiol can inhibit these enzymes. Therefore, marijuana may prevent other drugs from being broken down properly, and as a result, levels of these other drugs may be increased in the blood, which “may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions,” the Mayo Clinic says.

One example is the drug sildenafil, commonly known by the brand name Viagra, which is broken down by cytochrome P450 enzymes. In 2002, researchers in the United Kingdom reported that a 41-year-old man had a heart attack after taking marijuana and Viagra together. This report could not prove that the marijuana-Viagra combination was definitely the cause of the man’s heart attack. However, the researchers said that doctors “should be aware” of the effects of inhibiting cytochrome P450 enzymes when prescribing Viagra.

Still, Live Science could not find any scientific or news reports of people who have died as a result of marijuana interacting with another drug.

But that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless — the drug can impair coordination and slow down reaction time, and it has been linked with fatal car crashes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). A 2011 study found that people who reported driving within 3 hours of using marijuana, or drivers who tested positive for the drug, were more than twice as likely to be involved in a car crash compared with other drivers.

The Mayo Clinic says marijuana can increase the drowsiness caused by some drugs, including diazepam (Valium), codeine, antidepressants and alcohol, and so people need to be cautious if they drive or operate machinery after using these drugs with marijuana.

People who take high doses of marijuana may experience anxiety attacks or hallucinations, according to the NIDA. In some rare cases, intoxication with marijuana has been linked with suicide. In 2014, researchers from Germany reported that two men died from heart problems that were brought on by smoking cannabis.

But marijuana may have a benefit in terms of reducing deaths from opioid painkillers. A 2014 study found that rates of overdose death from opioids were lower in states where medical marijuana is legal. Another study, published earlier this month, found that rates of opioid use decreased among younger adults in states that had legalized medical marijuana. It’s possible that people are substituting medical marijuana for opioids to treat chronic pain, the researchers said.

Chelsea Clinton recently suggested that marijuana might be deadly when taken with other drugs. But is this really true?