It is not a secret that abusing medical opiates can often lead to a heroin addiction. Today this problem is urgent and gaining momentum because prescriptions for opiates are given out by the millions. Every year between 14,000 and 16,000 people die from an opiate overdose in the United States alone. But it seems that medical marijuana doctors found a good solution.
According to a Minnesota medical marijuana distribution company, planned changes to the Minnesota state law this August will allow some patients to use cannabis instead of opiates.
Dr. Kyle Kingsley, Vireo CEO, says opiates like hydrocodone are causing a public health crisis in the country. Medical marijuana can fix the situation, especially for patients with chronic pain.
“A lot of these folks just want control of their pain, and you know chronic pain is a pervasive issue. It's estimated that 160 million people have chronic pain, and it's a real medical problem, and opiates are only exacerbating it,” said the doctor.
Is it the safe way to battle opiate addictions? Cannabis is a natural painkiller which does not have harmful side effects. “There are very strict requirements for dosing, the precision of dosing, and also the quality and safety standards,” said Kingsley.
Medicine cannot dispense with the use of opiates, but we can use them much less. For example, millions of patients suffering from the unending pain should not expose themselves to grave risk using opiates.
“It's a pretty miserable treatment option for a lot of patients,” said the doctor.
Patients must have the right to choose a safe treatment option like medical marijuana. But people with chronic pain are not able to use medical marijuana until August 1. The dispensary in Moorhead is expected to open in June.
Kingsley notes it is just the first battle in the war on opiates. Medical marijuana cannot substitute opiates for everyone, but some conditions like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, daily migraines or severe injuries from accidents could qualify.