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Could Cannabis Be Used As ‘P4’ Medicine For Patients?

Written by Corre Addam

We all know that cannabis has the ability to heal a diverse range of ailments, but have you ever considered incorporating it into your daily healthcare regime?

If not, it might be time to mull it over. While it’s not very common yet, more and more people are starting to classify cannabis as a preventative treatment option, right along with vitamins, exercise, and healthy eating. Which is surprise considering cannabis is natural, organic, and proven to be extremely beneficial to our health as it is.

What Exactly is a P4 Medication?

P4 is actually an acronym which stands for Predictive, Preventative, Personalized, and Participatory. This is a highly successful approach that focuses on a patient’s wellness as a whole, a type of holistic approach. So far, this technique is used more throughout Europe, but it’s gaining traction in the United States as well.

According to the authors of a 2013 article for the journal PerMed, “Systems approaches to biology and medicine are now beginning to provide patients, consumers and physicians with personalized information about each individual’s unique health experience of both health and disease at the molecular, cellular and organ levels.”

The article goes on to state, “This information will make disease care radically more cost effective by personalizing care to each person’s unique biology and by treating the causes rather than the symptoms of disease. It will also provide the basis for concrete action by consumers to improve their health as they observe the impact of lifestyle decisions.”

How Does the Current Medical System Work?

Unfortunately, traditional western medicine is currently practicing the “trial and error” or “wait and see” method. In other words, patients wait until their symptoms persist then the doctor orders a series of expensive and often invasive tests, and all the while the patient is waiting for scheduling and the results while symptoms continue to worsen. This was the only tactic practiced by most physicians until recently. Thankfully now, experts are learning the benefits of going down the preventative care route, which not only helps the patient but is also economically advantageous.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, preventable causes of death account for nearly 40 percent of total annual mortality rate in the United States. This covers habits such as smoking tobacco, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and alcohol abuse. The few preventative measures we already have in place, such as counseling to quit smoking, drinking, or drug use, cancer screening, and vaccination, are shown to reduce mortality rates at a low cost to society.

Other studies discuss the cost saving possibilities of preventative care as well. Researchfrom Rutgers University clearly states that “screening costs will exceed the savings from avoided treatment in cases in which only a very small fraction of the population would have become ill in the absence of preventive measures. Preventive measures that do not save money may or may not represent cost-effective care (i.e., good value for the resources expended).”

Furthermore, “Whether any preventive measure saves money or is a reasonable investment despite adding to costs depends entirely on the particular intervention and the specific population in question. For example, drugs used to treat high cholesterol yield much greater value for the money if the targeted population is at high risk for coronary heart disease, and the efficiency of cancer screening can depend heavily on both the frequency of the screening and the level of cancer risk in the screened population,” the study concluded.

How Does Cannabis Come Into Play?

As stated above, it’s not extremely common to use cannabis as a P4 medication. In general, preventive care is still considered largely uncharted territory. But due to the fact that scientists have found positive results in using cannabis to treat a multitude of conditions including epilepsy, insomnia, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain, anorexia, chemotherapy-induced symptoms, eating disorders, depression and more, one can only determine that there is an urgent need to develop P4 medical cannabis plans.

Moreover, the reactions within one’s endocannabinoid system can differ so much based on the patient, strain, and external factors. This makes the need for personalized medical cannabis even more pressing. It might be a while before anything solid is implemented, but it’s promising to know that we’re well on our way to P4 cannabis care.

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About the author

Corre Addam

Addam spends the lion's share of his day fixated on his computer screen. When he isn't in front of his computer, you'll most likely find him editing or researching his next fascinating article on his smartphone or tablet. When he manages to pull himself away from technology, you'll find him chilling hard somewhere, probably under a tree with an ice-cold Iced-tea, pondering life...