Can marijuana help end the opioids crisis?

In governments where medical marijuana is legal, doctors write fewer opioid prescriptions and patients consume lower doses

Baxter

Legalization opposings call marijuana a” gateway dose” that produces users to more dangerous essences. But could it also be an “exit drug” that helps ease the opioids crisis?

The data is scarce, but the anecdotes are plentiful.

After more than a decade in the US air force, Jennifer Baxter necessity foot surgery. It wasn’t successful, and she had to have two more procedures to correct her” severely disfigured, pain and mechanically incorrect foot “.

Baxter had had surgeries before, and had taken opioids to recover. But, as she tells it, this time she be linked with a civil physician known for his magnanimity with pain medication.

After receiving a medical retirement, Baxter was prescribed her 600 pills a few months, including 480 oxycodone( a generic form of the opioid OxyContin ), she said.

Soon the month’s oxycodone lasted merely 21 eras. She lost her career, gained an unhealthy quantity of weight and contemplated suicide.” I was watching the clock all day every day for three and a half years ,” she said.

She heard medical marijuana might be helpful and began expending it in spring 2016. Balancing it with the slow-release morphine to stave off the indications of opioid withdrawal, she quitted capsules solely in several months.

Today Baxter, 40, has a new life. She is engaged to be married. She volunteers with salvage animals and is involved in her church. She has lost weight and is living in Arizona, where she knows how legally find medical marijuana for her tendernes, PTSD and insomnia. She takes it nightly and sometimes during the day.

In 2017, a record 47,600 Americans died of opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grim tally represents an increase of more than 10% from 2016, the previous record time. More Americans die from opioid overdoses than auto accidents or gunshots.

In
In 2017, a record 47,600 Americans died of opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illustration: George Wyleso/ The Guardian

Almost no one considers marijuana to be as ruinous for individuals or society. But legalization activists and service industries have marshalled anecdotal ground and personal testimonies to support the notion that cannabis can help people wean themselves off opioids.

As with all issues encircling medical marijuana, there’s not much good data. Despite fostering storeys like Baxter’s- I’ve heard lots of them- “theres been” no formal clinical tests to determine whether cannabis is an effective treatment for opioid craving. And cannabis remains unproven as an adequate substitute for opioids in treating chronic pain, which is how many addictions begin, sometimes after automobile or work-related collisions. Despite public perceptions, the evidence for cannabis as a drug” is actually strong and … riddled with restraints”, the psychologist Jonathan M Stea wrote recently in Scientific American.

However, studies have consistently shown that in states where medical marijuana is legal, doctors write fewer opioid prescriptions and cases expend lower quantities of opioids.( One study released in 2018 found evidence that states with legal medical marijuana learnt fewer prescriptions for weaker” planned III” opioids but not the more addictive and powerful schedule II drugs .)

Despite the paucity of data, the “exit drug” theory has led to devastating support for medical marijuana research among ex-servicemen. Various US commonwealths grant anyone with an opioid prescription to obtain a medical marijuana card.

The interest in cannabis as a substitute for opioids comes as opioid makers face increasing scrutiny and legal hassle. In March, groupings of more 600 US municipalities, districts and Native American tribes filed a lawsuit alleging that” eight people in a single family stimulated the choices that effected much of the opioid epidemic “. The clas, the Sacklers, dominate Connecticut-based Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which introduced OxyContin in 1996.

The family disavowed the allegations in a statement.

Last week, Purdue and the Sackler family agreed to pay $275 m to resolves a lawsuit put forward by the state of Oklahoma.( The lineage was not called as a accused in the lawsuit .)

Whatever effected the opioid crisis, it is a profoundly complex problem, one that few if any credible observers recollect is likely to be alleviated by cannabis alone. And some reject the idea of employing anti-retroviral drugs as an appropriate have responded to a drug crisis.

” When we are dealing here with opioids as the single biggest health crisis this commonwealth has ever had, you are going to tell me permitting more stimulants is the answer ?” New Hampshire’s Republican governor Chris Sununu said last drop .~ ATAGEND” Perfectly not .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ culture/ 2019/ apr/ 01/ marijuana-opioids-crisis-exit-drug

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