In the modern day, pain management is dominated by opiate prescriptions. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of opiates, along with physical addiction, is central nervous system depression. It can be so severe someone can die; more simply put, the brain is so affected by opioid alkaline your body forgets to breathe.
Not every opioid overdose is fatal; some can be prevented with an opioid “blocker” such as Narcan. Even with Narcan becoming more distributed and less taboo, overdoses still occur frequently without many other drug options. Nevertheless, it is challenging to keep up with the increase of filling, obtaining, and maintaining an opiate prescription, so Americans are looking for alternatives.
Herein enters cannabis and the more legal and available option, CBD. Data suggests that access to cannabis, even in recreational communities, contributes to the lowing of opiate deaths as it provides alternative pain relief. CBD, however, is widely available and legal. CBD and drug interactions are important to know, as CBD can have different effects on the body depending on what’s introduced.
CYP450 is a compound found in the small intestine responsible for metabolizing substances. Because of this, using CBD just like any other vitamin or supplement must be discussed with your healthcare professional or at the very least researched.
- CBD Drug Interaction – Cannabinoid-pharmaceutical Interactions
- CBD Oil Side Effects – And possible Adverse Reactions of Cannabidiol
Harvard doctors studied the use of marijuana for pain and the effect that it has had on communities in the grip of the opiate crisis. They found that in societies where medical or recreational marijuana was available, the prescribing of opiates fell 5.88%. When speaking about actual fatalities, the number of deaths in a city that had access to cannabis fell 25%.
The main factor in decreasing opiate deaths, even in communities with legal marijuana is access. In states such as Michigan cannabis is permitted, but there is no way to purchase it legally. Considering that 60% of all opiate deaths are from patients with legitimate prescriptions access has a great deal to do with use addiction and eventual death. These statistics in these limited access communities have been misrepresented to show that there was no change to opiate-related deaths.
There are three different ways cannabis and CBD can be used for pain: the smoking and vaping of the flowers and extracts, edible infusions, and topicals. While smoking is the preferred method among veteran cannabis users, it can be easily dismissed as a healthy alternative because of the adverse effects of smoking. Edibles or oral tinctures can provide full spectrum relief without the risk of smoking. However, with THC-heavy cannabinoids, a long-lasting impairment is likely to follow in some instances up to 6-8 hours after ingestion. Sometimes this can scare off novice users. When comparing CBD vs THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects and CBD inhibits THC.
Finally, topicals marijuana, unlike the methods of ingestion listed above, topical cannabinoids cannot cross over the blood-brain barrier and cause unwanted impairment. Combine this with the instant pain relief that topical cannabinoids provide by increasing blood flow to the affected area. While already known to do this in instances of relives glaucoma a 2017 study found that topical cannabinoids specifically CBD have the same effect on applied areas.
- CBD & THC – Cannabidiol & Tetrahydrocannabinol
- CBD vs THC effects – CBD for too much THC
- CBD to THC Ratio – What is the best CBD : THC Ratio?
In all cases, it is essential to remember that the effectiveness of CBD is based on dosage. Dosage cannot be calculated without the accurate representation of the contents of a product. Many people are faced with buying easily accessed CBD products at a gas station or other less reputable vendors. The issue that occurs is the potency of CBD in these products is often overestimated; in some cases, products might be entirely absent from CBD. A list of these companies is provided by the FDA and can be found at FDA.gov.
Between all these methods of consumption, there is an accessible form of cannabinoids available to every American. Thus the need for prescribing opiates will be diminished and also the fatalities. Please take the time to educate yourself before making a purchase and trusting a CBD vendor; any company that has its product tested and shows updated results often to demonstrate compliance.
Finally, we can safely assume that access to cannabis and CBD products dramatically reduces the opiate deaths in a community. By increasing options for everyday Americans in finding relief from chronic pain and only faced with the choice of opiate therapy. The thing that could really help people in pain and those who are addicted is conversation and understanding that another treatment exists. You are even able to mail CBD right to your doorstep, as long as it doesn’t contain any THC.
The social stigma around getting a Vicodin prescription after a wisdom tooth extraction is far less than smoking a joint. We expose Americans to opiates at a very young age without many other options. One does not have to look far to find a friend or family member who has been affected by the opiate crisis, whether it is an overdose or a lesser event. It’s time for the modern American healthcare system to embrace cannabinoids as a legitimate therapy for people suffering from chronic pain.
Hopefully, in the future, tested valid potent marijuana products will be widely available for public consumption without the stigma or fear of persecution by law enforcement.
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