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Why Patients are Favoring Cannabis Over Opioids

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Opioids vs. Cannabis: One Molecule vs. Hundreds
 
Prescription opioids generally contain one biologically active molecule. Cannabis contains hundreds of active molecules, many of which can help alleviate the same ailments or symptoms at once.
 
So what, exactly, can hundreds of active molecules do, especially if those molecules are all meant to treat the same ailment? It's an example of the entourage effect created by cannabis, in which several molecules produce physiological and cerebral effects, including potentially therapeutic ones, by signaling the body's many biological pathways. Prescription opioids may be more potent in eliminating the sensation of pain altogether, but cannabis molecules work synergistically to help the body control pain. THC, for example, could treat pain by activating the body's CB1 receptors, which send messages between the brain's pain control system and the central nervous system, while other cannabinoids and terpenes, which are the aromatic molecules responsible for a cannabis plant's aroma and flavor, trigger anti-inflammatory responses that also alleviate pain.
 
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