Cannabis Concentrates Could Diminish Opioid Dependency and Related Overdoses

While reading an article about how Heroin has literally replaced the Oxycontin in some areas due to Purdue Pharma replacing OxyContin with OxyNeo, a new formulation of the oxycodone-based medication that the manufacturer says is "more difficult to crush and therefore less likely to be abused through injecting or snorting."  Trying to reduce addiction rates by transforming the SAME drug will not end the addiction nor the physical habit of snorting or shooting, which in many cases can be a main trigger for relapse, the actual physical behavioral addiction of snorting or shooting. Similar to cigarette smokers in the process of quitting tend to chew gum or straws to replace the oral fixation of the cigarette in their mouth. 

Pharmaceutical corporations run on a profit base just as any other business in the world. The more of their product they sell the better they do financially. In this case the product happens to be Oxycontin, pharmaceutical grade heroin.

Purdue Pharma realizes there is an addiction problem with their product, Oxycontin, and decides to makes it a little "more difficult to crush and therefore less likely to be abused through injecting or snorting."  I'm no doctor nor a pharmacist, however I do know about addiction and you can not treat addiction of opioids with more opiods, no matter what you do to the damn pill. An addict will become the most creative Macgyveresque individual on the planet to find a way to get their fix and if the new crush proof pill causes an issue patients will turn to something else. Unfortunately the thing they turn to most is the real thing, Heroin.

“We went from ‘hillbilly heroin,’ as oxys were referred to, to heroin proper,” said Murray Rodd, chief of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service.

To read this and witness the absurdity just blows my mind, knowing full well the pharmacists' involved as well as Purdue Pharma are well aware of the fact that switching the physical properties while leaving the same opioid that fuels the addiction will not be less likely abused, it will result in them finding  the real thing, as it did.

“It was a direct consequence of replacing the demand for OxyContin with actual heroin. And it happened in a very short period of time.” -Murray Rodd, chief of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service continues.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1243530--oxycontin-replaced-by-explosion-of-small-town-heroin-use

With Cannabis on the forefront of research, and proving to be more and more promising, it is becoming more widely referred to for the healing properties it contains. Along with the general healing abilities associated with Cannabis the most astonishing thing about Cannabis is the variety in which it can be genetically altered in order for maximum relief of specific ailments.

There are three types of Cannabis (not including Hemp). Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Within these three seperate types of Cannabis are many different cannabinoids that heal in their own specific ways.

Through hybridization and playing with genetics, strains, and different phenotype's you can literally create an infinite amounts of  strain possibilities and even personalize the strain to meet your specific needs.

Cannabis concentrates, hash, honey oil, phoenix tears, BHO, bubblehash, wax, co2 extract. Whatever the method of extraction or name you label it with, it may be the answer we have been looking for, possibly the answer 'Big Pharma' knew all along and the reason they decided to make Naloxone available in 1996, the same year California went medical with cannabis.

Pulling the active oils, THC, and other cannabinoids from the cannabis flowers through chemical extraction, leaves only the essential oils that possess all the medicinal properties.

Something happened that may be coincidental or may not. Since 1996, ironically the same year California enacted their medical marijuana laws, an increasing number of "programs have provided the opioid antagonist naloxone hydrochloride, the treatment of choice to reverse the potentially fatal respiratory depression caused by overdose of heroin and other opioids." -http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6106a1.htm

Was it a coincidence that it just so happened the same year California passed medical marijuana? We may never know, but we do know since 1996 there has been 17 states as well as Washington D.C. that have passed some kind of medical marijuana legislation.During the years since 1996 there has been numerous studies done to find the full potential of cannabis and it's healing properties. One particular study comes to mind that could have saved many lives and I'm sure the pharmaceutical industry does not want anyone to know the truth as it may put a dent in their naloxone hydrochloride profits.

 

The study I am referring to is "Opioid Sparing Effect of Cannabis as Adjunct Medication" and it concludes that there is a synergy between cannabinoids and opioids and thus, a patient could decrease the amount of opioids necessary to manage pain due to the opioid sparing effect of cannabis.  Since opioids carry the risk of overdose along with other unwanted side effects, adding cannabis to their treatment regime allows patients to achieve more comfort with a lower amount or no opioid medication.

Sandra Welch, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, examines the analgesic effects of combining Cannabinoids and Opiates at the Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, held in Charlottesville, VA in May of 2008. "A synergistic effect was found that required much less opiate drugs to be used for acute and chronic pain."

Also, "From Plant to Prescription Medicine" - Introduced by Don Wirtshafter, Geoffrey Guy explains why "extracts of Phyto-Cannabinoids THC & CBD need to represent the natural balance of the Cannabis plant. Describing Cannabinoid action as a "Super-Modulator", Dr. Guy discusses clinical trials involving Multiple Sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury and neuropathic pain.

Knowing this and prescribing yet another opioid to help curb addiction is against everything that I believe a physician, doctor, even pharmacist knows to be right. This is where the profit comes in over the well being of the patient.

Ingesting a "dab" of cannabis concentrate, literally less than 0.1 gram, and receiving equivalent medical benefits of smoking an entire 1.0 gram of combusted, non-medicated, plant matter is a much safer alternative.

Another bonus to the 0.1g of concentrate is that it contains only the essential medicinal oils, resulting in a much safer delivery method than inhaling continued hits of combusted, non-medicated, raw plant matter.

Keeping in mind the unmentionable amount  of varieties, strains, and hybrids available through breeding and cross-breeding that cannabinoids and THC can be extracted from. It leaves endless possibilities along with the potential to be genetically personalized for any individual and their specific ailments.

Why are we not using cannabis to ultimately reduce patients' need for opioid painkillers, and possibly as a medication to wean heroin addicts from heroin without giving them something else that will cause another addiction, like buprenorphine and naloxone have been known to cause.

Wean a heroin addict away from heroin using medical grade cannabis concentrates without any secondary addiction. Some argue that medical marijuana may be addicting, I highly disagree. It is, on the other hand most definitely, habit forming. Just as anything else that induces pleasure, a bath, combing your hair, riding roller coasters all enjoyable and habit forming, none addicting though.

One thing is positive though. You will never loose a loved one to a cannabis overdose.  Possible worst case scenario, they eat all your food and crash on the sofa. But they will live to see another day!

What this last article points out, other than the fact that cannabis can be safely consumed as an adjunct medication with opioids (resulting in a reduced risk of addiction as well as overdose)  is something that anti-drug warriors, and even the more responsible cautious drug users have been claiming for as long as they have been using, "Most drugs increase the effects of other drugs." To be cautious it is a great motto and idea not to mix drugs.

When taken literal though one would assume by that logic that the "drugs" that you mix are somehow enhanced or more potent when taken together. This last article disproves that, with cannabis and opioids at least.

Some recent research included 21 chronic pain patients, who were taking either long-acting morphine or Oxycontin twice a day. Adding marijuana to these opioid drugs reduced patients’ pain by an average of 27% and "did not significantly affect blood levels of the prescription drugs. If marijuana had raised those blood levels, it could have increased overdose risk."

“The combination may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects,” the authors concluded.

For the duration of the study, participants were housed and monitored in the hospital for five days, so that their vital signs could be tracked and any complications rapidly treated. They were given vaporized cannabis to inhale: the first day, they used it in the evening; for the next several days, they smoked three times a day; and on the last day, they used it in the morning.

No medical problems occurred. The patients did report feeling “high” when given the marijuana, but not when given opioid drugs, to which they were already tolerant. The study was not placebo-controlled so it’s possible that some of marijuana’s painkilling effect was due to patients’ expectations of the drug— but previous research has found that marijuana is superior to placebo as a pain reliever.

With rising concerns about opioid overdose — the death toll associated with prescription painkillers has recently surpassed that of traffic accidents — the new finding is striking. While marijuana will never be able to replace opioids for the most severe pain, it carries no overdose risk and a far lower risk of addiction than prescription painkillers do.

Cannabis can treat all these ailments.

Further study to determine which patients would benefit most, and to what extent marijuana can actually reduce opioid use should be conducted.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is currently engaged in a crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in the 17 states that have legalized medical use. Researchers report difficulty getting funding to do these types of studies.

Another goal that must be reached if we plan on seeing full, fair, complete, and thorough research and studies permitted with cannabis.

IT MUST BE RESCHEDULED.

Also many prescribers of opioid medications view any marijuana use as substance abuse and refuse to care for people who use both, presenting a barrier to pain patients who would like to try marijuana to reduce their reliance on opioids.

Last year, the Veterans Administration dropped its policy of prohibiting opioid prescribing to medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal. But even if private physicians wish to permit medical marijuana use among pain patients, it poses a legal risk. Cannabis use can be construed as a “red flag” that was missed, if the patient turns out to be misusing drugs. Doctors can be criminally prosecuted if they are fooled by such patients.

 

Considering the risks posed by the two types of drugs, the current legal situation makes no sense. Cracking down on medical marijuana, an all natural benign herb, while trying to fight overdose caused by legal prescription medication, is not only a waste of money, but as all the new studies suggests, it is quite actively counterproductive.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/12/could-medical-marijuana-reduce-patients-need-for-opioid-painkillers/

 

Wisconsin needs to hurry and do something before we start loosing our children to The War on Drugs and cannabis prohibition. 
 

Become active and help move Wisconsin forward with the end of cannabis prohibition

 

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