Feb 102016
 February 10, 2016
elizabeth warren marijuana

(image via Wikipedia)

Marijuana is a fantastic pain reliever. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my foot last year, and nothing helps me deal with the pain in my foot as well as cannabis. My doctor tried to get me on prescription drugs to help fight the pain, which isn’t constant but there are definitely those days. I explained to my doctor that I would prefer to treat it with cannabis, both smoking and vaping as well as using topicals. My primary doctor is not the most supportive doctor when it comes to medical marijuana, but he has seen over the years how I’ve used it to treat various aches and pains, and haven’t had to ever get prescription painkillers. He keeps trying to act skeptical towards medical marijuana, but he always bows down to the fact that I’ve never needed anything for pain in all the years he’s been my doctor (over 20 years).

I know that my experience is not unique. There are countless other testimonials out there of people using medical marijuana to treat their pain with great success. All of them will be quick to point out that had they used pharmaceutical painkillers to treat their pain, or continued to use them in the cases where they were already using them prior to using cannabis, their health would be worse than it is now because of the side effects that go along with pharmaceuticals.

More and more people are pointing towards marijuana reform as a way to combat the growing opioid addiction in America. The latest of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren. Per Think Progress:

Now, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has thrown her clout into that push for solutions – and in a way that underscores the injustices of the War on Drugs over the past several decades.

Warren is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research how medical and recreational marijuana might help alleviate the opioid epidemic. In a letter sent Monday to CDC head Dr. Thomas Friedan, Warren urged the agency to finalize its guidance to physicians on the dos and don’ts of prescribing oxycodone, fentanyl, and other popular drugs in this category.

But she also went further, asking Friedan “to explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options.” Those alternatives should include pot, Warren wrote. She went on the ask Friedan to collaborate with other federal health agencies to investigate how medical marijuana is or isn’t working to reduce reliance on highly addictive prescription pills, and to research “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.”

I don’t mean to villanize opioid addiction in America, and fully believe that it should not be a criminal justice issue in America whatsoever. But I think that in addition to reforming drug laws in America, we also need to research, and make people aware of, harm reduction. Medical marijuana can help a lot with that if given a chance when it comes to painkillers and other substances. If, and it’s a very big if, the CDC follows Elizabeth Warren’s advice, I think the impact would be very significant.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • Lawrence Goodwin

    Great little article. Thanks for sharing, Johnny G! Sen. Elizabeth Warren is on to something, and I hope it leads to positive action fast. The opiod epidemic undermines far too many communities—even before law enforcement steps in to enforce fraudulent drug laws. A couple weeks back, I went to the funeral of a 22-year-old young man named Andrew. He died from an overdose. His coffin was open but I could not go anywhere near it, perhaps to avoid a closer look at how this fun and talented guy is now gone. I personally know of several other overdose deaths, too. Addiction truly is a scourge. But the vast majority of federal and state lawmakers, unlike Ms. Warren, think rigid laws and brute force are still the answer. It’s been that way ever since the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act and the subsequent 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Both laws are total FRAUDS, because lawmakers have always claimed they are trying to “protect public safety” when, in reality, their political campaigns are being funded to “protect the profits” of giant corporations. “Tricked by circumstances! The more that things change, the more they stay the same.” (Neil Peart of Rush, from “Circumstances.”)

    • David Yoseph Schreiber

      Many of the ardent prohibitionists are simply fighting their personal ghosts and monsters from a fantasy world they’ve conjured up.

      • https://twitter.com/crlibertytn CR Liberty

        Well said. While my Congressman resides in Tennessee; he lives in his own reefer madness “Private Idaho.”

  • PhDScientist

    This is good news. In states with Medical Marijuana laws, Opiate deaths decrease by 25% to 33%.

    • http://www.organibliss.com Doc Deadhead

      Quips like this are great for 1 liners on postcards.

      Am in Michigan and will be sending out as many simple factoid postcards to registered voters as I can. Already have the list for my county!

      Education before the Elections will be our best weapon

      • PhDScientist

        I’m sure you meant it as a complement, but I please don’t call it a ‘quip” or a “one liner.” It isn’t either one.

        This is an incredibly serious topic — Americans, including American Children, are suffering and dying, NEEDLESSLY.

        In the immortal words of Spencer Tracy as Clarence Darrow in “Inherit the Wind” —

        “There is no good way to enforce a bad law”

        I’ve seen your posts before, you’re clearly a “Good Guy”

        Sorry to be “touchy”, but I’ve seen way too many people die of CANCER, and that’s what this is about for me.

        Every Cancer Patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana.

        So does everyone else who Medical Marijuana can help heal or cure.

        Every. Single. One.

  • PhDScientist

    82% of Oncologists want their Cancer Patients to be able to use Medical Marijuana. It is immoral to leave Marijuana on Schedule 1 for even one second longer.

  • 2buds4me

    My brother was on hydrocodone for years for a back injury. With the help of Cannabis he has been able to get and stay off opioids completely.

  • saynotohypocrisy

    Every member of Congress should join in this request. The statistical analysis of opiate overdose deaths published in the AMA’s journal in 2014 is powerful evidence that the availablility of legal MMJ significantly reduces opiate overdose deaths compared to states that don’t have it. The longer MMJ has been available in a state, the greater the reduction. Enemies of MMJ are creating a bloodbath, and that’s how history will judge them.

  • PhDScientist

    Johnny — If your Primary Doctor isn’t supportive of Medical Marijuana, do your best to turn him into a strong advocate — you’ve got all the information at your fingertips — forward him the best information you can find from medical journals and from surveys of Physicians.

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta said it best —

    “Marijuana isn’t just ‘good medicine’ its often the only Medicine that works. We should legalize Marijuana. We should do it Nationally. And we should do it NOW!”

    Tell him we need as many of us who work in the Scientific and Medical Fields to ACTIVELY work to help change people’s attitudes.

    A lukewarm acceptance is better than nothing, but no where as good as strong support.

    When it comes to Pain Management — Medical Marijuana is a great alternative to Opiates.

    He can — and should — feel good about recommending it to his Patients.

  • saynotohypocrisy

    This seems pretty important, Warren is considered a leader, and has credibility for her work defending consumers and workers. And she raised the issue of how legalization of recreational use, not just medical, would impact on opiate overdose deaths. We’ll see if the CDC stonewalls her in time-honored big pharma lackey prohib style.