Updated: Apr 10
The Washington Post reports that 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, or 1 in 5 Americans. The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) reports that we are closer to 100 million chronic pain sufferers. Treating chronic pain costs this country more than half a trillion dollars per year- it’s the number one reason, according to AAPM, that people go to see a doctor.
In this country, the powers that be, prefer to treat pain and many other conditions, with opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others.
As of late, it appears that big pharma is starting to see the consequence of careless actions of overprescribing opioids for everything! Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, is being sued for being responsible for starting and sustaining the opioid crisis. An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson, sellers of prescription opioids and supplies, and other drug companies with opiate ingredients - responsible for contributing to the state’s opioid crisis.
The Guardian reports that Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the world, and three drug distributors, were ordered to pay a total of $260 million to settle the first of thousands of lawsuits by cities/states across the U.S. The lawsuit was filed, accusing the industry of creating an epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 lives over the past two decades.
Opioids- Pain Killer, Amongst Other Things
While opioids may treat pain, they also cause pain. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI), says this about opioid side effects:
“Common side effects of opioid administration include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression. Less common side effects may include delayed gastric emptying, hyperalgesia, immunologic and hormonal dysfunction, muscle rigidity, and myoclonus. Opioids can be considered broad-spectrum analgesic agents, affecting a wide number of organ systems and influencing a large number of body functions.”
Medline Plus states the following about long term impact of opioid use:
“Opioids can cause side effects such as: drowsiness, mental fog, nausea, and constipation. They may also cause slowed breathing, which can lead to overdose deaths.”
In 2015, the CDC reported that drug overdoses resulted in 52,404 deaths. Out of that number, 33,091 involved opioid use.
Cannabis and Chronic Pain
Healthline reports that a study found that more than 62% of people who use medical marijuana do so to treat chronic pain. Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions in 2016, 84.6% had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy.
As for Cannabis and overdoses, here’s what Drug Rehab.com says:
“A marijuana overdose occurs when a person experiences serious health problems- after taking too much of the drug. Symptoms of cannabis overdose include hallucinations, increased heart rate, and intense paranoia that might require immediate medical attention.”
No overdose deaths.
Cannabis and Big Pharma Rejection
There is a lot of research showing that opioid use and overdoses are lower in states where Cannabis is legalized. The Washington Post reports interesting findings and- they look like solid reasons for big pharma to continue to fight against Cannabis legalization.
The information below was sourced from a Medicare part D database, by Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia.
In the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law.
In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year.
The typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.
Esquire.com says that “Marijuana's Biggest Enemy Is Not Jeff Sessions–It's Big Pharma”. Cannabis research is in its infancy. With no federal funding for research, due to federal legal status- Cannabis research is generally conducted from independent sources who have to raise money for this research.
Thankfully we have information from legal Cannabis states, showing that Cannabis is the better of the options- per the public. It seems that people would choose plants instead of deadly lab-created options called “medicine”. Big pharma would love to continue to get rich and so- be ready for the day that big pharma grows plants.
When that day comes, it is my opinion that there will be nothing safe about that plant. Also, pay attention to how legalization will go. It is my opinion that Cannabis isn’t fully legal unless we can grow at home. If we see federal legalization without this option- it is my firm belief that big pharma is working on a way to sell us infected plants.