According to a study, patients repeatedly reported that cannabis is used as a substitute for prescription drugs, but little is known about people who legally purchase cannabis through the adult cannabis market.
The study was conducted in 2016 in Colorado, United States, in which 1000 adults were interviewed about their use of (medical) cannabis, 65% of respondents reported that they used cannabis to relieve their pain and 74% said they used cannabis to promote sleep. All respondents who reported medical certification were excluded.
Among those who took cannabis to sleep, 84% found it very helpful, and those who took over-the-counter medicines (87%) or prescription sleeping pills (83%) said they either reduced their use or stopped using them completely.
This suggests that medical use of cannabis is common where cannabis is legally available and also reduces drug use. Laws for adult cannabis use could increase access to cannabis to treat illnesses.