Elizabeth Warren To The CDC: Look Into Medical Marijuana To Fight Opioid Addiction
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.