Illinois is one of 29 states who have legalized medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana. There are currently 25,000 certified medical marijuana patients in the state. The official stance on marijuana has long been that it is a dangerous form of drug that acts as a gateway drug to more hardcore substances. According to Attorney General Sessions this is the main reason why there needs to be a crackdown, as it leads to more crime.
A Reduction in Prescription Use
But all data seems to indicate that the opposite is the case. It seems that marijuanaactually acts as a gateway drug away from hardcore drugs, in particular painkillers, which can have horrendous side effects. This has been a fact long known by many in the medical community as well as cannabis patients but recently it has been brought to the public awareness. A small study done consisting of 30 participants has indicated that prescription medication has declined in lieu of the use of marijuana. The peer reviewed study was completed by DePaul and Rush universities in Illinois and it provides direct anecdotal evidence of what has been suggested by previous studies, that marijuana may contribute to reduced use of opioid drug. There is no doubt that opiate addiction is an epidemic and has to be dealt with. It has been called a national emergency by President Trump and opiates killed more than 14,000 individuals in 2015. Marijuana offers one of the best methods against this problem.
It has been claimed by many that people are jumping the gun a little bit, and that this study in particular suffers from all sorts of issues. A White House Advisor on drug policy, Keven Sabet, said that the study was “One of the worst I’ve seen in a while…It was an uncontrolled observation of 30 people who were mixing pot with other drugs.”. It is true that the study is less than robust. But Sabet’s proposal that marijuana contains numerous compounds and that each compound should be isolated, tested and approved by the FDA is at best, ridiculous, and at worst (and most likely) calculatedly corrupt. The last thing that is needed by the public is for the FDA to slow everything down by isolating compounds and then giving there biased and often inaccurate analysis, while people in the meantime die of opiate addictions and a lack of marijuana in general. The issue is dead and buried – marijuana lessens opiate addiction.
And despite the shortcomings of this specific study it does back up a large number of other studies. Researchers at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of 277 patients registered in the Canadian government’s medical marijuana program. Over 60% of the respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription medications. 32% of patients were most likely to report using cannabis in lieu of opioids. A study completed by Ashley and David Bradford titled “Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use in Medicare Part D”stated in the abstract:
“Using data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, we found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented. National overall reductions in Medicare program and enrollee spending when states implemented medical marijuana laws were estimated to be $165.2 million per year in 2013. The availability of medical marijuana has a significant effect on prescribing patterns and spending in Medicare Part D”
In other words, medical marijuana implementation resulted in a decreased use of prescription drugs along with huge savings in all states. There are many more studies to attest to this along with much anecdotal evidence. What is particularly dark about the medical prescription complex is the number of reports emerging that doctors refused to prescribe painkillers to those who need them after finding out that their patients tested positive for a controlled substance, in this instance marijuana. This was being done in states such as California and Nevada, where medical marijuana was legal, the doctors often citing that it was an illegal drug at the Federal level. They also stated that they could be liable for an overdose, despite the fact that studies indicated that cannabis and painkillers work synergistically, in that it is less likely to die of an overdose when using the painkillers in conjunction with marijuana. These are weak cases and do not hold water, and the question remains as to why doctors are reluctant to treat patients who have tested positive for marijuana in regions where it is legal. Patients are also forced to pay for the drug test themselves.
Slow Moving Agencies
The bottom line is that the public do not need a rigorous scientific study over the course of 5 years to determine whether or not marijuana reduces opiate addiction. A large percentage of people who has transferred from opiates to marijuana says it does. All previous data indicates that marijuana lessens opiate addiction which is at work killing the populace while former bureaucrats like Sabet muddy the waters by suggesting we wait years for the FDA, a slow-moving agency, to isolate compounds and present biased analyses. Cannabis is a viable alternative to pain killers andat this point in time represents the best alternative to the medical opiate epidemic.