About 130 people die daily in the US due to opioid overdose. For a long time, opioids were the go-to solution for many doctors and healthcare providers for a growing number of pain-related ailments, leading to a massive spike in prescriptions. Before they knew it, patients were manipulating the system to obtain opioid prescriptions because they were hooked on opioids.
In the blink of an eye, doctors had taken the place of drug peddlers as the key suppliers of drugs of addiction. In 2017, there were 58 opioid prescriptions per 100 Americans, with rates higher in cities with greater unemployment. It also emerged that 80% of people who abuse heroin have abused opioids in the past. Opioids are prescribed for pain but since they cause euphoria the patient goes on using them long after the pain has left. When they can longer have access to opioid prescriptions they turn to the black market for something with a similar, if not stronger, effect. Does this make opioids a “Gateway Drug” as well?
It is clear that opioids are not a long-term solution for severe pain. With so many opioid-overdose related deaths, a safer alternative is definitely needed. Does cannabis fit the tab?
Can Marijuana Solve The Opioid Epidemic?
This is definitely the ultimate rebuff to the “Gateway Theory.” Currently, cannabis is listed as a schedule 1 drug under US federal law. This basically implies two things: it has no medicinal use and it has a high potential for abuse. This alone serves to rule out cannabis as a potential alternative for the treatment of severe pain.