One Solution to the Opioid Crisis - Marijuana?
One solution for the opioid crisis, the worst drug crisis in the American history, may be marijuana. Every day, more than 1000 people are admitted into emergency centers and opioid abuse and overdose kills more than 115 people. The death toll is more than the figure recorded by traffic accidents or gun violence. It is estimated that the opioid epidemic costs the U.S about $500 billion every year. These statistics are shocking, to say the least, but they do not tell the full story.
Millions of Americans are still struggling with opioid addiction and the monster seems to recruit more people daily. Florida has a significant problem with drug overdoses. The future looks even bleaker when you consider the fact that there seems to be no lasting solution in sight. Opioids remain the most effective painkillers ever discovered by medical science, and a lot of people continue to struggle with pain.
Cannabis may be a Solution!
Perhaps, it’s high time we dropped the age-long stigma that has been associated with cannabis. Physicians, law enforcement officers, policymakers, and all stakeholders need to come together in other to write a new narrative for cannabis. There is more than enough evidence that proves the analgesic efficacy of cannabis. Asides the comparable pain relief, cannabis further boasts a better safety profile and less potential for addiction and one potential solution for the opioid crisis. This makes it a potential substitute for people struggling with opioid addiction. 31 states have already approved medical cannabis for a wide variety of conditions and the results from preliminary studies in those states have been impressive. One wonders when the Federal Government would also follow suit.
Combating the Opioid Crisis is a Three-pronged Process
The debate about developing effective strategies towards combating opioid crisis would continue to go on. However, the general consensus is that the strategies providing cannabis as a solution for the opioid crisis must focus on:
- Treating and preventing opioid addiction
- Reducing and possibly eliminating opioid overdoses
- Providing an effective alternative to opioids for managing chronic pain
Analgesic Properties of Cannabis
It appears people have been aware of the analgesic properties of cannabis since the ancient times. Historical records show that the plant had been listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, thousands of years ago. Modern science has been able to identify cannabinoids as the active principles in cannabis. There are numerous cannabinoid receptors in our brain and these compounds bind to these receptors. The typical cannabis plant contains about 60 or more cannabinoids. These compounds work in a synergistic manner, alongside terpenes and flavonoids.
Although the analgesic effect of cannabis may not match that of opioids, cannabis further boasts anti-inflammatory properties. Most chronic pains are accompanied by inflammation. Therefore, medical marijuana can help resolve chronic conditions faster. The overall goal of pain management is to improve a patient’s quality of life. Opioid addiction creates another problem that could severely affect a patient’s quality of life. Cannabis, on the other hand, helps to achieve this goal in the long run.
If you are in search of more evidence to prove that medical marijuana could just be the way out of the opioid epidemic, this publication by the Journal of the American Medical Association should be of interest. Between 1999 and 2010, the legalization of medical marijuana by a state board reduces opioid mortality rate by about 25%. Furthermore, studies have also shown that cannabis could help treat the withdrawal symptoms that arise from quitting opioid use. With the immense benefits, it’s hard to argue that it's high time medical marijuana became legal across the whole of the United States.
Looking for more information on how to get a medical marijuana card for your pain, check out our related articles, Things You Need to Know about Medical Marijuana in Florida and "Beginner's Guide to Medical Marijuana in Florida".