Thursday, November 9, 2017

Could Cannabis Save the US from the Opioid Crisis?

photo via google 

 The opioid crisis that is plaguing people throughout the United States is somewhat of an oxymoron. Although there is an epidemic of overuse of opioids our own government is helping to create the supply. Pharmaceutical companies lobby and pay high amounts of money to have laws put in place that benefit the manufacturers. Opium is one of the largest commodities produced in Afganistan and surrounding countries and a necessary product worldwide. Many of the farmers who produce poppies are trapped in the sense of growing this specific product. Unfortunately, the market for other commodities which could also be grown in these areas does not yield a high enough profit for the farmers and their families to subside on. Our soldiers have been guarding poppy fields for many years now.

 One of the more disturbing aspects of the opioid epidemic is most of the ailments these drugs are prescribed for do not cure at all, they are merely a means to relieve symptoms. Why not take something that is less expensive, has little to no harmful side effects and alleviates pain as well? Cannabis, and its non-psychoactive component cannabidiol(CBD), have been proven to do that very thing, yet many patients have difficulty getting a prescription, and it is still not a legal option everywhere. The Drug Enforcement Agency wants to treat this plant like every other drug, but cannabis is different and could save lives or at the very least lessen the pain for those suffering from numerous chronic diseases or syndromes.

  According to

There are presently no FDA-approved drugs to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare disorder resulting in drug-resistant seizures which can increase the risk for death and pulmonary complications, including aspiration pneumonia and resulting sepsis. 5,500 patients are estimated to be affected by Dravet syndrome, with up to 7,000 more patients in Europe. The syndrome typically develops after birth and generally before a child’s first birthday. Mortality is high with the syndrome, with nearly 15% of patients dying before the age of 7, and the bulk of patients with major cognitive impairment and learning disability.

 This is a devasting syndrome for which there is no cure, and the patient has a low chance of survival past the age of seven. It is painful, seriously impairs mental functions, and most prescriptions do nothing to help. However, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine cast some hope. The study concluded that nearly 50% of seizures decreased for 43% patients given CBD oils. More studies need to take place for that number to increase, but it is difficult because of the laws in the United States. According to federal law, cannabis is illegal, but recently many states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. Illinois has joined the ranks, but with many restrictions and regulations.
 The unethical practices of the drug companies have to end. Corporations acting without regard to human lives cannot be allowed to continue to poison so many and ruin countless lives. It is despicable that dying patients are forced to chose whether to live with pain or go broke paying for relief. Young children should not be forced to take medicine that doesn't work when all it would take is CBD oil to help them. We all need to get real and face the facts. The government should be helping citizens by doing more studies to benefit us all, instead of wasting taxpayer money on arbitrary laws that are outdated and useless. Not to mention the added revenue that states like Illinois so desperately need.


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