Medical Marijuana v. Other Prescription Pain Medication: Is there a Difference?

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2014

Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio Says Benefits of Medical Marijuana Questionable; Harms Irrefutable

Philadelphia—With medical marijuana now legal in nearly half of U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C., little remains known about the long-term benefits of the drug, while evidence of its negative effects is plenty.

According to a recent article, the odds do not appear to be in marijuana’s favor. “The science so far doesn’t look good,” the article states. “At this point, despite thousands of studies, there is very little evidence that cannabis is good for any specific medical condition.”

Dr. Karl Benzio, founder, executive director and a psychiatrist at Lighthouse Network (, an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says that while marijuana may cause a temporary reprieve from symptoms, it’s simply a Band-Aid for most conditions, and the harmful effects can last a lifetime.

“Presently, marijuana has no real scientifically strong data supporting its benefits, but there is much evidence of its damages,” Benzio said. “At the same time, although other medications such as narcotic painkillers and benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, provide some significant benefits, they are also addicting and cause short-term and long-term cognitive and mood complications.”

A recent Newsmax Health article noted that many physicians believe prescription drugs—including some that are commonly prescribed for things including anxiety and depression— have adverse effects including memory loss, mental confusion and dementia. This has led to many individuals being wrongly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, only for physicians to learn through post-mortem autopsies that the individuals did not have this disease at all.

“The growing reliance on addiction-forming medications to treat symptoms is of great concern,” Benzio continued. “In reality, medications that have been scientifically proven to be beneficial are simply Band-Aids and should be used only for a brief time for symptom relief while working on longer-term cures. And so-called medications such as marijuana, that have been proven to be detrimental with no demonstrated concomitant benefits, should be avoided altogether.

“It’s important to remember that any drug we put into our system has the potential to affect our brain chemistry, and when these drugs are habit forming, they may eventually lead to a desire for stronger, more potent drugs. The cycle is vicious, and the result is never positive. Medications to treat things like anxiety, depression and panic attacks can be beneficial for the short-term, but true recovery requires both psychological and spiritual treatment. This is the only approach that brings lasting healing with no short-term or long-term downsides.”

Those who have become addicted to prescription medications, or family members of individuals addicted to prescription meds, may feel overwhelmed, but help is available. And, Benzio adds, the most effective help for long-term recovery is a bio-psycho-spiritual approach to acute treatment and to longer-term preventative services that teaches biblical decision-making skills to people of all ages, which will have a long-term transformational impact.

Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one.

Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit

Lighthouse Networkworks to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

Lighthouse Network’s web site,,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.

Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.

For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).

To schedule interviews with Dr. Karl Benzio at Lighthouse Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.

Lighthouse Network is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that offers an addiction and mental health counseling helpline providing treatment options and resources to equip people and organizations with the skills necessary to shine God’s glory to the world, stand strong on a solid foundation in the storms of their own lives, and provide guidance and safety to others experiencing stormy times, thus impacting their lives, their families and the world.

Dr. Karl Benzio, M.D. is the founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network. With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, Benzio went on to medical school and then specialized in psychiatry. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students counseling and conflict resolution skills in Uganda and Kenya; leading a behavioral health team into post-Hussein Iraq to equip health care specialists with treatment and assessment skills and successfully testifying for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives opposing legislation for Plan B contraception administration and for President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics regarding Right of Conscience. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council. His specialties include Adolescents, Addictions, Decision-Making, Infusing Spirituality into Practical Treatment Modalities and the Ramifications of Decision-Making on Social Policy.


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