Opioid painkiller addiction is the fastest growing drug addiction in the United States today, and it was recently featured on the popular Dr. Oz TV show. Dr. Oz pointed out the astonishing statistics that 48 million Americans, one out of every 5, have reported that they have abused prescription drugs. 12 states have more opioid pain pill prescriptions than people. In states where marijuana is legal, however, opioid prescriptions are declining. Dr. Oz looks at the question: Is marijuana the new gateway drug OUT of opioid addiction?
With the addition of Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2016, the total number of states in America allowing the use of cannabis medically is now 25. The non-state known as the District of Columbia or Washington, D.C., the nation's capitol, also has allowances for medical cannabis. They all have variations of what ailments or diseases are allowed for obtaining a medical marijuana permit. The states that are the most liberal include Colorado, Washington (state), and Oregon. They allow recreational use of marijuana, thus eliminating the need for approval from a bureaucratic medical marijuana approval system. Some states have more restrictions than others. For example, in New Mexico, hepatitis C is a condition allowed for cannabis, but only if one is using an FDA approved medically prescribed anti-viral. In other words, only as an adjunct for interferon type drugs that have a history of nasty side effects. This helps keep those who would rather avoid the medical system in it. Nearby Arizona allows cannabis for hepatitis C without the concurrent anti-viral treatment requirement. But so far, only one state allows medical cannabis for those diagnosed with aggressive or destructive autism, Delaware. Currently, a panel within the Minnesota Department of Health has met to discuss the possibility of including autism as a qualified condition for cannabis use. If you are a Minnesota resident and wish to register your supporting opinion or parental giver story with that panel, they are open to comments until September 20th.
Medical marijuana has two primary cannabinoids that are medicinally proven and understood to some extent, THC and CBD. They can both regulate each other and cooperate harmoniously. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD or cannabidiol was the un-heralded major cannabinoid that has only recently gained notoriety after going on its own instead of merely medicinally complementing THC. Most of this notoriety occurred through national TV exposure from Dr. Gupta Sanjay's CNN documentary “Weed." That documentary featured a young girl's struggle with a life threatening type of chronic epilepsy called Dravet's syndrome. Her name was Charlotte Figi and she was experiencing hundreds of seizures weekly. Out of desperation that led to discovery, the Figi family discovered CBD oil, which led to a miraculous turn-around with Charlotte's horrific symptoms. They found that they could administer CBD oil, made from marijuana, without making their child "high." This discovery spread quickly through Sanjay's CNN nationwide presentation going viral, exposing how many desperate families whose children can benefit from CBD exist throughout the nation and elsewhere.
The heroin and opioid painkiller overuse, addiction, and resulting death toll that averages out to 78 deaths per day has become an epidemic that continues to grow, except in states that have liberal medical marijuana laws. The CDC concedes that at least half of those statistics are fueled by opioid painkiller prescriptions of Oxycodone, as used in OxyContin®, Hydrocodone, with Vicodin® for example, and Methadone, ironically often prescribed under several brand names to assist those withdrawing from heroine. Those addicted to opioids are now taking advantage of medical marijuana legalization and using cannabis for pain instead of opioids.
Obama Adminstration’s DEA Ignores Marijuana Therapeutic Research – Keeps Status Illegal to Protect Big Pharma
The recent 2016 DEA decision to keep cannabis as a controlled substance Schedule I drug came amidst high hopes that it would be placed as Schedule II or below. Schedule I means the substance is dangerous, addictive, and has no medical merit. Marijuana or cannabis is therefore still ranked with heroin, and LSD. Heroin is an addictive and dangerous opiate that in other opioid forms such as morphine is used to suppress pain with legal prescriptions. Yet on the federal level, doctors cannot prescribe marijuana, in spite of so much evidence of its therapeutic value. At the same time, however, in what appears as an obvious hypocritical move that benefits only Big Pharma, the DEA, while not removing the criminal legal status on marijuana, did relax the laws regarding medical research on marijuana which will soon benefit drug companies looking to patent drugs that mimic what the plant already does.
A lot of attention and concern has been placed on kids using medical cannabis with parental or medical guidance. Many of the "concerns" are misplaced and out of date, based on the “Reefer Madness” propaganda of the 1970s, which induced an unjustified phobia of cannabis or marijuana. Some of the children who are afflicted with the most severe form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, are alive and doing well because of specially formulated cannabis that's low in activated THC. Others are surviving cancer and curing terminal Crohn's disease because of higher THC cannabis. Most of them manage well on cannabis almost completely, getting off most or all of the pharmaceutical medications that were worsening their condition. But what about older folks, people well into their 60s and older, 70s and 80s? Only a small minority who take responsibility for their health with good diets, the right supplements, and moderate exercise wind up managing well in those age groups. Most of them weren't aware of the Internet's “alternative” health information and warnings about mainstream medicine when they were younger. So most senior citizens wind up loaded on pharmaceuticals just to get by with daily routines, including decent sleep. But there is an increasing number of senior citizens catching on to the merits of one plant's ability to replace those medications for “age related” ailments. Some have even managed to walk out of hospice with "terminal" cancer after medical cannabis intervened.
Medical Refugees and Medical Tourism: New Options for Alternative Health Patients Rejected by Mainstream Medicine
According to quotes attributed to early Americans Dr. Benjamin Rush and Thomas Jefferson, medical freedom should have been inserted into the Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights. The fact that medical freedom has not been included in the Constitution's Bill of Rights has resulted in the establishment of “Pharmaceutical Medicine” as the only “officially” acceptable medicine and fostered the suppression of all other forms of valid healing. All unacceptable forms of medicine not considered “official” have been excluded from medical insurance coverage. The monopolist exclusion of insurance coverage for safer, less expensive, and more effective treatments creates a vast patient pool no matter the expense. For example a cancer patient may opt for chemo and radiation because his or her insurance covers that, but not natural treatments, which though less expensive, are beyond most people's budgets. This attempt by the U.S. Government, usually under the authority of the FDA, to suppress non-approved pharmaceutical alternatives that are often natural, non-toxic, less expensive, and more effective, has led to a new cultural phenomenon: Medical Tourism and Medical Refugees.
Sometime during the late 1980s, a Sunday talk show featured a “debate” on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. The person against such legalization came up with an unintentionally silly line, “I wouldn't want to be on a plane with a pilot using marijuana.” Well, he wouldn't want to be on a plane with an alcoholic pilot either, and alcohol is legal. So legality has nothing to do with individual judgment or airline rules. That was a good example of a straw man argument. Such straw man arguments are common when it comes to discussions on marijuana, medical or otherwise. What was impressive then was the pro-medical marijuana advocate. He was a stock broker in South Florida who smoked 10 to 12 cannabis cigarettes daily. It was amazing that he could talk with anyone on a live TV telecast and argue his point. Advising clients on investment choices seemed to be even more ridiculous. But it turns out to be true. Irvin Rosenfeld was diagnosed with a rare bone disease called hereditary multiple exostoses (HME) at the age of 10. The pain from the bone tumors, usually non-cancerous, irritating skin and muscle tissue could only be made manageable with dangerously addictive narcotic prescriptions. Medical marijuana turned out to be a much better solution, and eventually the federal government was supplying him medical marijuana to manage his pain.
Do you know the difference between marijuana and hemp? The confusion between those two terms has cost us the benefits of industrial hemp, which can do a lot of what other materials are doing with much less ecological damage than what exists now. According to George Blankenbaker, president of Realhemp, Inc, hemp is the most misunderstood and under appreciated crop there is. And the confusion between marijuana or cannabis and hemp has made growing hemp without THC illegal only in this country, the USA. We get most of our hemp products, especially hemp seeds and oils, from Canada and some from Europe. Both regions have relatively thriving hemp agricultural and industrial enterprises, and even theirs are not enough to sooth an ecologically unbalanced planet. China grows 90 percent of the world's hemp. Blakenbaker's interview was done by the Cannabis Summit among the several interviews and gifts offered elucidating medical cannabis' properties and its surrounding legal and social issues. What he reveals that has been kept from humanity in addition to cannabis' medicinal qualities is staggering.
Among all the health professionals, M.D.s, herbalists, osteopaths, chiropractors, legal advisers as well as grass roots activists promoting medical cannabis for various applications interviewed on the Holistic Cannabis Summit, the interview of Dennis Hill is unique because he self-medicated with cannabis and cured his prostate cancer in six months. Dennis Hill is a biochemist who worked in the research department of the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston for several years. Decades later in 2010, he was diagnosed with aggressive Stage III adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Not wanting to endure the harmful side effects of conventional cancer treatment that he saw while working at the MD Anderson Cancer Institute, he took a friend's advice and began to look at cannabis as a possible alternative treatment. After only three months, the main tumor was gone, but a few metastatic lesions remained. In another three months, all traces of cancer were gone.