Living in America, it’s not hard to acknowledge that we are dealing with a drug problem. The number of Americans addicted to opioids is staggering. Forty-four people in the United States die every day from a prescription opioid overdose. Almost seven thousand people are treated in emergency rooms in the United States every day for misuse of prescription opioids.
Prescription Opioid abuse is a much larger problem than heroin addiction in this country. Many of heroin users actually started with prescription opioids. Is this telling us that the problem is starting at the doctor’s office?
While attending The Dandelion Herbal Center’s Medicinal Cannabis Conference this year in Arcata, California, I was fortunate enough to sit through one of Dr. Dustin Sulak’s presentations. Sulak is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Maine, and he shared his knowledge with us on this exact subject. What Sulak had to say blew my mind! His research concluded that adding cannabis to opioids makes the opioids safer. Save your victory dance, because it just keeps getting better. Cannabis can also prevent opioid tolerance building, the need for dose escalation, and help with opioid withdrawal. Cannabis can be used to replace opioids.
While listening to Sulak I felt more pride in being a cannabis farmer than ever before. He explained that by adding cannabinoids to opioids it widens the therapeutic index. The effective dose of opioids goes down because the cannabis increases the power of the opiates. By using too many opioids it stimulates opioid receptors in the cardio-respiratory center of the brain, which controls your heart rate and breathing, and it can be fatal. There are virtually no cannabinoid receptors present in these areas of your brain. There is no lethal dose of cannabis!
America’s opioid problem has exploded, and people have grown a tolerance to opioid painkillers. Patients end up needing more and more to dull the pain. The idea is by adding cannabis to patients opioid use, we could slow the dependency on opioids. Cannabis has the lowest dependency risk of any other psychoactive substance and lowest risk for abuse and diversion. Patients who stop using cannabis are able to do so without treatment.
Now, we dance!
This post was written by Siobhan Darwish, one of two amazing second generation growers that can be found on Instagram @grow.sisters and on their YouTube Channel.