Marijuana as a Replacement to Opioids

There is no question that we are in the midst of a major opioid abuse epidemic in the U.S.  While it has gotten a lot of attention in the media lately, the solutions proposed by those in power have generally been limited to cracking down on the smuggling of illegal narcotics across U.S. border, spending small amounts of money on public health programs to fight addiction, and threatening to rollback efforts to lessen prison sentences for those arrested for non-violent drug offenses.

Many have been advocating for medical marijuana as a possible alternative to prescription painkillers that are very addictive and prone to abuse, but these efforts have so far only resulted in a lot of push back.

marijuana attorneyThe reason these conventional efforts are not making an impact is because most who abuse prescription opioids started out with a work-related injury or some type of trauma such as from a serious car accident, and then were prescribed narcotic painkillers. At some point, the insurance companies wanted to avoid paying for more of the drugs, or the doctors became concerned the patient was becoming addicted, and the prescriptions were simply cut off.  This led to typical drug seeking behavior and the problem just gets worse where some find themselves addicted to illicit street drugs.  Even though these drugs are clearly more addictive than medical cannabis, and a whole lot more dangerous, the U.S. Attorney General has just said he is looking at how to crack down on marijuana even in states where it is legal.

According to a recent news article from Forbes, many are still opposed to medical marijuana as an alternative to long-term painkiller use, because they are claiming it’s use as a painkiller has not been sufficiently studied. As our Orange County medical marijuana attorneys can explain, the reason it has not been sufficiently studied in large part is because it was illegal to study the drug at any large scale until the federal regulations were loosened up a bit.

When U.S. Congress outlawed marijuana though federal controlled substances legislation, they did so by falsely claiming marijuana was highly addictive and dangerous, but also that there was no valid medical use as confirmed by peer-reviewed research studies.  While it might seem that the easy solution to this problem would be to preform studies, and there was evidence of the safety of efficacy of marijuana, it could be used to get marijuana changed to a lower schedule. The problem is that if it is illegal, they can’t give it patients, they can’t grow it, and they can’t process it into various others forms commonly used with respect to medical marijuana therapy.  This was not done by accident as those who argued for a prohibition on marijuana knew exactly what they were doing.

There are some nuances to this issue however in that while many want marijuana taken out of Schedule One on the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, they do not necessary want to it moved to Schedule Two or even Schedule Three.  This is because lowering medical marijuana would then make it legal, but subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight and that would mean any claim related to a health benefit would have to be supported by safety and efficacy trials and it would be subjected to a lengthy approval process.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Law Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937- 2050.

Additional Resources:

Could Marijuana Replace Opioids As A Painkiller? Experts Are Skeptical, December 3, 2017, Michela Tindera, Forbes

More Blog Entries:

Rescheduling Marijuana Could Help Researchers, April 22, 2016, by Cannabis Law Group