Medical Professionals who have been trained to evaluate patients for medical marijuana approval are saying that marijuana is the drug of the future that will be prescribed as a solution to many diseases and symptoms. For those who have been approved to use medical marijuana in states that have legalized the drug, the future is now! Many hospitals and Emergency Rooms, General Practitioners, and other medical professionals will no longer prescribe opioid medications or treat chronic pain. Is marijuana a miracle drug, or just a better option than opioids that have been taking far too many lives? Is medical marijuana the answer to the opioid epidemic? We won’t know for sure until more testing, research, and clinical trials are performed.
The Agenda is Rolling!
The marijuana agenda is rolling, and science needs to catch up with it. Is medical marijuana the answer to the opioid epidemic? It seems the public has already decided. Although medical marijuana may be the answer for some individuals, not everyone agrees that medical marijuana is the answer. The federal government still considers marijuana as illegal; although, some states allow “medical marijuana” to treat specific health problems. Opioids are much more dangerous than medical marijuana because of the risk for overdose. There are many opioid receptors in the brainstem area that regulate and can shut down breathing when opioid doses are high. Medical marijuana does not have the overdose potential and has a much greater window of therapeutic value according to most medical professionals
The Public Has Spoken!
The scientific community have not been included in many conversations and decisions by policy makers regarding the legalization of medicinal marijuana. The foundation for clinical trials are usually provided by years of structured scientific studies by preclinical models. Then years of evidence provided by the structured scientific studies are evaluated by federal agencies to determine if certain compounds should be approved for the treatment of specific diseases and their symptoms. When it comes to medical marijuana, the bar has not been met. The marijuana industry has been driving efforts to legalize medical marijuana. It is clear that the medical value of marijuana has been determined by the public and politicians, not physicians and science. It seems that the legalization of marijuana has left science behind.
Many States Agree with the Public!
The public and many state officials around the nation seem to think that medicinal marijuana is the answer to the opioid epidemic. Many states have passed laws allowing the use of medical marijuana; although, the lack of clinical research seems to be impacting many medical professionals. The fact that cannabis has a schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act, makes clinical trials and any study of the substance very difficult. The effects of medicinal marijuana on human beings needs to be tested more in order to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Patients Have Many Options Medical Marijuana Friendly States!
Patients can meet with a pharmacist of the dispensary to help determine the best product or products for the patient. An individual’s doctor has no say in the type of medical marijuana that the patient ultimately chooses; it’s up to the patient. The laws vary from state to state on the types of medicinal marijuana allowed for use in each state. For example, dry leaves are not allowed to be smoked in some states; however, they may be used in a vaporizer. There are also many, many different strains of marijuana to choose from. Research and studies have concluded that Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in cannabis, helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms and cravings for individuals who are addicted to opioids. CBD has many other healing properties. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance in marijuana that has mind- altering effects that make users high. There is high THC/ low CBD, equal THC / CBD, and low THC / high CBD. There are several ways for patients to take medical marijuana: smoke dry leaves, consume a pill or liquid, inhale a vaporized spray, bake the substance into foods, inhale dry leaves in a vaporizer, sublingual liquid tincture, topical lotions, and suppositories.
Opioid Medications are on the Decline!
The government has set guidelines for pain-management doctors, limiting the number of milligrams of opioids that can be prescribed per patient each month and the number of refills for opioid medications. Federal law-enforcement agencies have cracked down on physicians who prescribe opioid medications who are constantly prescribing large amounts of opioid medications above government standards. Many pain-management doctors around the country are no longer prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain and related illnesses. Instead, these providers are recommending medicinal marijuana to their patients as an alternative. The problem is that medical marijuana does not provide pain relief for all patients; the results vary.
New Laws are Needed
Many patients on fixed incomes report that the cost of medical marijuana is very expensive, depending on the dispensary and the state. Insurance companies do not pay for medical marijuana. These individuals on fixed incomes and those with severe chronic pain are finding it very difficult to find pain-management doctors who are willing to provide continuing medication management with opioid medications. We can only hope that federal laws will be passed in the near future that will make medicinal marijuana legal in all states, so that insurance can cover the cost. When this happens, it will help thousands of people who are suffering today. We can only hope that the President and the Congress can have a bipartisan effort to pass these new laws soon.