Author Topic: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates  (Read 987 times)

Offline stromboli (OP)

Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« on: August 27, 2016, 10:16:37 AM »
http://www.laweekly.com/news/opiate-addiction-experts-turn-to-marijuana-as-safer-alternative-to-pain-relief-7293001

Quote
The United States is in the grips of a well-documented opiate epidemic. More people in the country now die from heroin and prescription opiates than they do from car accidents. In 2014, nearly 19,000 fatal overdoses were related to legal opiates like OxyContin and Vicodin, and according to the Center for Disease Control, at least half of all opiate deaths involve a prescription. Sales of OxyContin, which was initially marketed as non-addictive, alone generate roughly $3 billion each year.

As doctors, law enforcement and policy makers scramble to slow the spread of addiction, marijuana continues to show great promise in the treatment of acute and chronic pain, issues that are currently treated primarily via opiates. Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the UC Irvine School of Medicine, has studied the pain management properties of marijuana and its derivative chemicals for the last 25 years, and is calling the use of marijuana in pain management an encouraging turning point in the opiate crisis.

“Despite what the DEA says, their scheduling creates an enormous difficulty to researchers using marijuana or its derivatives.” Piomelli says. “Even harmless derivatives that happen to be present in the plant have been subjected to the same limitations as marijuana.”

On Aug. 11, the Drug Enforcement Administration formally turned down requests to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 controlled substance, choosing to keep it in the category that also includes heroin and LSD.

“[Marijuana] does not have a currently accepted medical use in the United States,” DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg, (who was criticized last year after calling medical marijuana a “joke”), wrote in a statement. “There is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.”

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies including Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, have successfully lobbied to derail CDC prescription reform. Still, progress is being made. A 2015 study that found that the “use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence.” Another recent study found “moderate-quality evidence” to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain.

Marijuana is vastly less habit-forming than opiates. Especially promising are cannabinoids (CBDs), which, along with THC, are one of the primary chemical derivatives of marijuana. CBDs mitigate pain by targeting the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in processes including appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. Piomelli, whose UC Irvine lab has studied the endocannabinoid system for more than two decades, notes that CBDs are particularly promising for researchers, as they don’t have the mind-altering or addictive effects of THC.

Opiates, on the other hand, function by reducing the perception of pain by binding to opioid receptors in the body. While effective, opiates also are massively addictive, especially as one’s tolerance grows and greater doses of the drug must be administered in order to maintain effectiveness. Many people, women in particular, spiral into opiate abuse and addiction after being prescribed opiates after routine procedures and surgeries.

"The mu opiate receptor," says Dr. Piomelli, referring to one of the three receptors activated by opiates, "is so fundamental to the painkilling effects that every opiate by its very definition will cause addiction."

While Piomelli is encouraged by recent marijuana-related studies, he emphasizes that it is not without risks. Although data regarding the long-term effects of marijuana use is limited, a large-scale study in New Zealand found that the primary long-term health effect of continued marijuana use is gum disease. The potential long-term mental effects require much more careful consideration and research, particularly with respect to teenagers and young adults.

While the complete eradication of opiates is unlikely, treating pain with both substances in tandem is a promising area of exploration. “By using a combination of the opioids and the cannabinoids, one can really lower the doses of both quite substantially,” Piomelli says. “By lowering the doses, you of course decrease the risk of addiction and the risk of side effects from both classes of compounds.” He stresses that more research is needed to assess the possible risks of taking both substances at once.

Evidence shows that the increased availability of medical marijuana has decreased the use of opiate drugs in places including California. A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Georgia found that “in the 17 states with a medical marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs dropped significantly compared with states that did not legalize medical marijuana.” Despite these developments, current federal restrictions, along with limited funding for research and a long-standing cultural bias against marijuana, continue to tie the hands of researchers, although a recent development approved some organizations to explore the possibilities of the plant.

“The major cause of the delay we have is decades of misunderstanding, misconception and misinformation on cannabis that only now, after 20 years of work on the endocannabinoid system, we are finally starting to dispel,” Piomelli says.

Piomelli believes that if California's Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana in the state, passes in November, the government may be pushed to do certain things necessary for research on medicinal marijuana to really take off.

“This is one of the times I’ve felt the most hopeful in my life,” he says. “Things aren’t going to change immediately, but I think over the next five years we’re going to see some fundamental shifts.”


My wife, a retired LPN, first learned about the use of Cannabis from a person in her MS society support group. Utah is unique in that we have a high percentage of MS sufferers- one of the main researchers of MS is a doctor at the U of U who is himself an MS sufferer. Even though big pharma has spent billions researching the disease- it is a very complicated neurological disorder- they have never acknowledged Cannabis as a treatment. My wife knows 3 people who use it, in this case illegally because Utah is the politically backward state that it is. Btw, the reason for MS being prevalent is genetic- MS is most common among Middle European groups, and that is where a large number of Mormons that populated Utah came from. Her sister also has MS.

I have mentioned about acquiring Cannabis on here, possibly raising the ire of some people, I don't know. But I can attest to the efficacy of the product. It is interesting because under the current attitude about the drug, it is easier to acquire illegally than it is medically and actually cheaper, because the growers in my neighboring state are increasing in number and there is more competition among them, bringing prices down. A year's worth of the product can be had for less than $200.

Cannabis contains a potpourri of chemical compounds. Besides THC there is CBN, CBD and CBC compounds that have yet to be fully studied. Growers now are actually crossing different strains to produce different qualities in their product. The Cannabis I acquired is actually tailored to reduce problems with MS specifically. They hybridize strains of Sativa and Indica to create different effects. This from growers, not pharmaceutical giants. This is what happens when people are given the freedom to think for themselves. 

The idiocy of the attitudes towards it is mind boggling. My wife only uses the product when she is involved in activities that include lengthy walking or other when traveling, because it eases cramping and other problems like nausea when she eats. She was on the verge of losing mobility and using it has allowed her to not only regain mobility but lessened her nausea and allows her to sleep better. Yet if you bring up the topic to doctors, which we have, they are largely antagonistic about it. Doctors are more tied to Big Pharma than people realize; they are prescribing Pharma's stuff to their patients, after all.

The silly part is that the majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of Cannabis use both medically and recreationally and several groups including the AMA and also a number of congressmen, have lobbied the FDA and DEA to decriminalize it. Hopefully studies like this by the right people will finally open the door to getting it legalized medically, if not recreationally. Big Pharma doesn't like the idea of having a cure all you can grow in your garden to impact their sales. So they will continue to oppose it, of course.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 11:44:29 AM »
Replacement for opiates? Not going to happen and just as, well..forever they use scare tactics to get people to believe that opiates are always the worse thing since Satin..
I'm all for legalizing both cannabis and opiates with well thought out regulations, but the real problem and one too often glossed over is that all opiate medication including heroin have the same basic active ingredient, but the difference is that with heroin it was turned over to the black market for distribution just like cannabis was and when people buy just about anything on the black market bad things happen.  They always toss in the qualifiers of 'high potential for abuse ' and if we're going to outlaw everything with a high potential for abuse then bullets really need to be outlawed. Can you think of any product with a higher potential for abuse than bullets? The benefits of bullets certainly don't out weigh the risks, but the same cannot be said for opiates nor cannabis.
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Offline stromboli (OP)

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 12:22:03 PM »
Replacement for opiates? Not going to happen and just as, well..forever they use scare tactics to get people to believe that opiates are always the worse thing since Satin..
I'm all for legalizing both cannabis and opiates with well thought out regulations, but the real problem and one too often glossed over is that all opiate medication including heroin have the same basic active ingredient, but the difference is that with heroin it was turned over to the black market for distribution just like cannabis was and when people buy just about anything on the black market bad things happen.  They always toss in the qualifiers of 'high potential for abuse ' and if we're going to outlaw everything with a high potential for abuse then bullets really need to be outlawed. Can you think of any product with a higher potential for abuse than bullets? The benefits of bullets certainly don't out weigh the risks, but the same cannot be said for opiates nor cannabis.

We each have a different set of experiences, but I agree- just legalize the stuff and treat addiction for what it is, an illness. Kind of funny that opiates are among the most prescribed of medicines as schedule 2 drugs, where heroin, derived from the same plant, is schedule 1. LSD is also schedule 1 and there are strong arguments for its use in medicine. Methamphetamine and Ritalin are also schedule 2 and both quite addictive, and available from your doctor.

Medical Cannabis has been available for some time now, and there is no indication of addiction issues and there are statistics that show opioid addiction has been lessened where Cannabis is legal. And no increase in traffic accidents or other indicators of problems, yet the DEA insists it is a potentially dangerous drug.

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 12:34:47 PM »
Oxycontin wasn't supposed to be addictive? What a crock of shit. These large pharmaceutical companies don't give a shit about "helping" people, they only care about money. Feeling blue? Try Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, Neurontin, Tomoxetin, Doxepin, Iprindole, Auorix, Niamid. Feeling anxious? Try Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, Seconal, Nembutal. Does your kids show signs of ADD? Try Ritalin, Adderall, Desoxyn(methamphetamine) etc.

Then the DEA puts harmless drugs like pot and acid in Schedule I. It's not about harmlessness, I'd legalize marijuana and LSD before tobacco and alcohol. Methamphetamine is in Schedule II for fuck's sake, it's given to our children to treat ADD.



The fireworks in my head don't ever seem to stop

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 12:37:15 PM »
We each have a different set of experiences, but I agree- just legalize the stuff and treat addiction for what it is, an illness. Kind of funny that opiates are among the most prescribed of medicines as schedule 2 drugs, where heroin, derived from the same plant, is schedule 1. LSD is also schedule 1 and there are strong arguments for its use in medicine. Methamphetamine and Ritalin are also schedule 2 and both quite addictive, and available from your doctor.

Medical Cannabis has been available for some time now, and there is no indication of addiction issues and there are statistics that show opioid addiction has been lessened where Cannabis is legal. And no increase in traffic accidents or other indicators of problems, yet the DEA insists it is a potentially dangerous drug.

Marijuanna is less addictive, physically, than alcohol and nicotine.

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Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2016, 12:52:21 PM »
Next time you get in a really bad wreck and break several bones try smoking a joint for the pain.  You'll likely be begging for something stronger  I've used both marijuana and heroin and I can say without any doubt whatever that heroin is by far the better pain killer.  Several years ago I was sucker punched then had my face kicked in with steel toe boots. My eye socket was pretty much destroyed which required several steel plates to hold it together.
The docs decided that I couldn't have opiate pain medication because of my past history so I tried marijuana, but it did almost nothing for the pain. I had to go to the black market and heroin till it healed up which of course made me into a criminal for treating my own pain.
The simple solution would have been to go ahead and prescribe opiate pain medication and treatment for addiction afterwards if needed, but in this country and most once you become addicted to pain medication your doctor isn't allowed to treat the addiction BY LAW.. How fucking stupid is that?
Nope..if you need treatment for addiction you have to go to one of the many fly by night turdball addiction clinics and put up with their bullshit..
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 12:55:41 PM by AllPurposeAtheist »
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Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 12:56:47 PM »
Next time you get in a really bad wreck and break several bones try smoking a joint for the pain.  You'll likely be begging for something stronger  I've used both marijuana and heroin and I can say without any doubt whatever that heroin is by far the better pain killer.  Several years ago I was sucker punched then had my face kicked in with steel toe boots. My eye socket was pretty much destroyed which required several steel plates to hold it together.
The docs decided that I couldn't have opiate pain medication because of my past history so I tried marijuana, but it did almost nothing for the pain. I had to go to the black market and heroin till it healed up which of course made me into a criminal for treating my own pain.
The simple solution would have been to go ahead and prescribe opiate pain medication and treatment for addiction afterwards if needed, but in this country and most once you become addicted to pain medication your doctor isn't allowed to treat the addiction BY LAW.. How fucking stupid is that?
Nope..if you need treatment for addiction you have to go to one of the many fly by night turdball addiction clinics and put up with their bullshit..

If codeine was legal when this happened, you could have made morphine, which would have been illegal as well.
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Offline stromboli (OP)

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 01:48:09 PM »
At this point the attitude offered by the DEA and FDA is just pandering to big money (big pharma) and has nothing to do with drug intervention. enlightened countries like Portugal and Uruguay have already stopped arresting addicts and users and treating them medically, and are saving money in the process. If we put the money spent by the DEA towards addiction treatment and released all the people incarcerated for drug usage offenses, we would be well ahead of the game in every respect. 

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2016, 01:53:37 PM »
At this point the attitude offered by the DEA and FDA is just pandering to big money (big pharma) and has nothing to do with drug intervention. enlightened countries like Portugal and Uruguay have already stopped arresting addicts and users and treating them medically, and are saving money in the process. If we put the money spent by the DEA towards addiction treatment and released all the people incarcerated for drug usage offenses, we would be well ahead of the game in every respect.

Except the DEA doesn't want to do that. The DEA and drug dealers have a symbiotic relationship.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2016, 08:24:18 PM »
Except the DEA doesn't want to do that. The DEA and drug dealers have a symbiotic relationship.

Correct.  CIA and drug dealers are also symbiotic.  The war on drugs has always been a war against the public.  The government wants to criminalize everything, so they can arrest you for cause at any time, any place.  All the better to control the source of Soylent Green.

This is also why they want to eliminate cash, and keep the tax code complicated.  The Spanish Inquisition is less scary than the IRS.
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Offline stromboli (OP)

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2016, 10:29:39 PM »
Yes I agree. The DEA would not exist if the cartels went away. There certainly is a market for their wares in a system that creates an illegal demand.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2016, 07:30:18 AM »
Problem with treatment facilities is that every single person who seeks treatment in them is treated like they're guilty of criminal activity.  I spent over 10 years in treatment and they almost always hold treatment over your head by demanding that you basically sign over your right to get pain medication if you actually need it.
True story..a friend of mine at one facility was in a bad wreck and broke both of his legs. Both of his femors were snapped, but because he was a methadone patient he was not permitted to use any kind of opiate pain medication despite the fact that he'd been on methadone several years and had a very high tolerance for it so his only rescorse was to start buying black market methadone so no other opiates would show up in drug testing. If he took the medication prescribed by his doctor he would have faced forced withdraw from the clinic and his daily dose of methadone.
Treatment can be effective, but it can also be brutal. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to ever have to go through forced methadone withdraw..it's worse than heroin withdraw. One is really really bad, the other is almost always something that will drive you to suicide..
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 07:33:36 AM by AllPurposeAtheist »
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Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2016, 09:13:49 AM »
Problem with treatment facilities is that every single person who seeks treatment in them is treated like they're guilty of criminal activity.  I spent over 10 years in treatment and they almost always hold treatment over your head by demanding that you basically sign over your right to get pain medication if you actually need it.
True story..a friend of mine at one facility was in a bad wreck and broke both of his legs. Both of his femors were snapped, but because he was a methadone patient he was not permitted to use any kind of opiate pain medication despite the fact that he'd been on methadone several years and had a very high tolerance for it so his only rescorse was to start buying black market methadone so no other opiates would show up in drug testing. If he took the medication prescribed by his doctor he would have faced forced withdraw from the clinic and his daily dose of methadone.
Treatment can be effective, but it can also be brutal. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to ever have to go through forced methadone withdraw..it's worse than heroin withdraw. One is really really bad, the other is almost always something that will drive you to suicide..

But why can't they give opioids to someone who is in pain? They can see if his femurs snapped. It's not like "Oh my back hurts, prescribe me oxycodone", he needs the medication. If he didn't have such a high tolerance to methadone it could have been used to treat his pain.
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Offline stromboli (OP)

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2016, 03:48:30 PM »
But why can't they give opioids to someone who is in pain? They can see if his femurs snapped. It's not like "Oh my back hurts, prescribe me oxycodone", he needs the medication. If he didn't have such a high tolerance to methadone it could have been used to treat his pain.

That would be logical and imply common sense. Stop it.

Re: Cannabis As Safer Alternative To Opiates
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2016, 08:57:42 AM »
[anecdote]I had about nine-ten inches of my boat stuck into my right calf back in '72. When they recovered me the first thing the corpsman did was to give me a joint. When we got back to base he gave me another one. When the chopper arrived they gave me a third taste of Thai and I got a fourth one when we got to "So Gone City".

Yeah, it's not bad for pain.
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