opioids cannabis
Wouldn't you just love some nice pills that might kill you? Photo: Bart

Wouldn’t you just love some nice pills that might kill you? Photo: Bart

Although prescription drugs are supposed to help patients, one class, opioids, often prescribed to relieve severe pain, has frequently accomplished the opposite. These drugs are addictive and overdose can cause death – in over 14,000 cases in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is 40 a day, a 300 percent increase since 1999. It has been labelled the worst drug epidemic in US history. Opioids include methadone, oxycontin and vicodin. Cannabis beats opioids, causing as it does no deaths from overdose.

A study

A study published by the American Journal of Public Health last week showed that there were fewer drivers killed in car crashes who tested positive for opioids in those 25 states which have legalised cannabis for medical purposes than there were before the law changed. Evidently, cannabis beats opioids. Figures were from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1999 to 2013 in 18 states, covering 68,394 people. There was 50 percent less opioid positivity in folk aged from 21 to 40, so if older Usionians recognised marijuana as a sound treatment for pain, death rates could fall yet more.

And another

Another study, this time published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014, demonstrated that states with legal medical marijuana experienced much fewer deaths from opioid overdose. Cannabis beats opioids, by Jiminy, yes. This one examined 50 states from 1999 to 2010. Opioid deaths were 24.8 percent lower, with the reduction increasing over time, from 19.9 to 33.3 percent after six years.

How many bloody studies do you need?

Legal cannabis would save money. A report by Ashley and David Bradford of the University of Georgia’s Department of Public Administration and Policy proved that fewer prescription drugs were consumed – and paid for by Medicare – in states where medical marijuana was legal, saving $165 million in 2013, which would equate to around $470 million nationally. Do you still think it’s untrue that cannabis beats opioids?

But, hey, let’s ignore all those studies

The federal government has resolutely refused to acknowledge the medical benefits of cannabis. In August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Health and Human Services considered whether to reclassify marijuana, presently an impermissible Schedule 1 substance, and chose not to because there was insufficient clear medical benefit per tightly-controlled scientific studies. Potential investors were likely deterred because illegality makes things much harder for businesses.

Big Pharma retaliates

Big Pharma has gone to great lengths to suppress the writing on the wall, to the tune of $880 million over the last 10 years, per an investigation by the Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity that was published a week ago. This was eight times as much as spent by the gun lobby in the same period. Lawmakers who were interviewed attributed the failure of bills to inhibit the flow of opioids to Big Pharma’s aggressive lobbyists. Some of Big Pharma’s case was downright lies: Purdue Pharma, which brings us oxycontin, pled guilty in 2007 to misrepresenting its drug as “abuse resistant” in a multi-million dollar marketing campaign and was fined $600 million.

It’s hard to make a living from the marijuana business

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