More Americans find favor in natural health in lieu of prescription drugs

More Americans have used a natural remedy to treat an ailment over prescription medication and believe natural remedies like cannabis are safer than prescriptions, according to a OnePoll survey.

The study found more Americans are choosing natural remedies because they were more affordable and easier to obtain than prescription drugs, or they didn’t want to become addicted to prescription medication.

Toxicologist and professor of pathology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, Amitava Dasgupta, PhD., is an authority on herbal supplements.

He said taking alternative medicine or natural products might interact with Western drugs that make the result toxic or invalid.

"Overall, do not take any remedies or natural products without talking to a qualified person," said Dasgupta.

He said natural remedies shouldn't be considered safe, but are case by case.

"It's very important that they discuss this with their primary care physician," said Dasgupta.

The survey found that almost 75 percent of respondents believe natural remedies, including cannabis and marijuana products, are safer overall than prescription medications. A majority believe cannabis should be more widely available as a pain treatment.

Dasgupta said some studies find if CBD products are used topically, they should be safe, but not so much for essential oils dropped orally.

He added since the 1994 Dietary Supplement Act, the FDA has no bearing on health supplements, because they use the guise of "dietary supplements", which don't need FDA approval.

Dasgupta said remedies coming from Indian or Asian countries contain heavy metals like arsenic, mercury and lead that aren't safe.

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