According to a OnePoll survey, more Americans have used a natural remedy to treat a medical condition about prescription drugs and believe that natural remedies such as cannabis are safer than recipes.
The study found that more Americans are choosing natural remedies because they were more affordable and easier to obtain than prescription drugs, or did not want to become addicted to prescription drugs.
Toxicologist and professor of pathology at the McGovern School of Medicine at UTHealth, Amitava Dasgupta, PhD., Is an authority on herbal supplements.
He said that taking alternative medicine or natural products could interact with Western medicines that make the result toxic or invalid.
"In general, do not take natural remedies or products without talking to a qualified person," Dasgupta said.
He said that natural remedies should not be considered safe, but that they are case by case.
"It is very important that you discuss this with your primary care physician," Dasgupta said.
The survey found that almost 75 percent of respondents believe that natural remedies, including cannabis and marijuana products, are generally safer than prescription drugs. Most believe that cannabis should be more widely available as a treatment for pain.
Dasgupta said some studies find that if CBD products are used topically, they should be safe, but not so much for essential oils that are dropped orally.
He added that since the Dietary Supplements Act of 1994, the FDA is not related to health supplements, since they use the disguise of "dietary supplements," which do not need FDA approval.
Dasgupta said that remedies from Indian or Asian countries contain heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead that are not safe.