Marijuana prohibitionists, especially those in congress, can’t handle the truth about cannabis as a major solution to the current opioid crisis.
In a bizarre action, the US House Of Representatives Rules Committee prevented the research of cannabis as a partial solution in a huge new bill, H.R. 4641, shoveling $600 million dollars at the opioid problem. This massive spending is supposed “To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes.”
Ironically, the bill seeks to “update best practices,” except that the committee willfully ignored and rejected any study of what may well be the very best practice, managing pain, reducing addiction, and saving lives with cannabis and cannabinoids.
Despite being a heresy in the addiction recovery business, it turns out the using cannabis can serve as a stress buffer and safe substitute to avoid addiction and to help Americans get off dangerous opioids. Among its many benefits:
- Safety – Zero people have died from marijuana overdose in the 8,000 years or so of its use. Opioids, especially when mixed with other drugs, can stop breathing; cannabis does not, and may well be the safest of all drugs.
- Withdrawal – Just as using cannabis provides great palliative relief from those suffering from the effects of cancer and chemotherapy, these pain relieving and anti-nausea properties can ease the discomforts of withdrawal, increasing success in kicking an opioid habit.
- Addiction – An aspect of addiction itself may stem from a cannabinoid deficiency syndrome. A system deficient of receptors or natural cannabinoids can, from a human standpoint, feel raw and incomplete. Plant cannabinoids in marijuana can relieve this deficiency, and provide needed stress reduction and bliss.
- Pain – Cannabis relieves pain itself, making it a great substitute for opioids for some types of pain. For neuropathic pain, often long-term, cannabinoids are very beneficial. Opioids, not so much. WEBMD reports on the great relief provided to sufferers of nerve pain by three puffs of pot per day!
- Adjunct Pain Relief – For other types of pain requiring opioids, marijuana also works in conjunction with pharmaceuticals to provide more pain reduction with less quantity of the opioid drugs.
The current opioid crisis demonstrates the total failure of the war on drugs.
After 45 years and a trillion dollars wasted, drug deaths are at an all time high. Prohibitionist have always relied on the absurd arguments that “marijuana is a gateway drug” to hard drugs. As it turned out, heroin did have a gateway drug, but it was an array of pharmaceutical opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl. The arrest and prosecution war on marijuana damaged millions of careers, crushed families, and depopulated communities while setting up the conditions for this oxycodone and heroin epidemic. Internationally, an $8.6 billion dollar war on drugs in Afghanistan totally failed, and has resulted in an all time peak in opium production, fueling the habits of Americans switching from expensive oxycodone to cheap heroin.
Now that the addictions and deaths are among their voters and their children, legislators are falling over themselves to show that they are acting. They are doing so in the way congress knows best; squandering vast sums of money while seeking only conventional wisdom. Although nearly everyone now realizes that the old, tired war on drugs model causes huge harms and does very little good, still the police, prosecution, and addiction experts are the first to benefit from this new torrent of federal money. New answers and solutions will not emerge from these stale standbys, only more of the same that has caused the opioid crisis.
The House Rules Committee is dominated by Republicans who clung to the old prohibitionist mindset and refused to fund any cannabis research solutions to the opioid crisis. But not all congresspersons — and not all Republicans — voted to ignore cannabis research. Indeed, it was freedom-fighting Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher from California who, along with Colorado Democrat Jared Polis, submitted the ill-fated amendment to study cannabis solutions.
Fearing the truth, marijuana prohibitionists have sought to stifle research on the medical benefits of cannabis for decades, and have been nearly totally successful because of the plant’s Schedule I control status which defines it as having no medical value. Still, in 2016 in the midst of a true drug crisis, it is shocking that America’s congress, ignoring science and spurning compassion, can again reject even considering cannabis solutions to this black tide of opioid addiction and death.