Pain and Pills

Let’s talk chronic pain and medication. This is a very dicey and controversial issue in the United States today with the “opioid epidemic” and something that has impacted my life in a few different ways over the years. First, I suffer from chronic pain due to a car accident that shattered my ankle to the brink of amputation. Fortunately, I was able to retain my foot. However, for the past twelve years I have dealt with, sometimes debilitating, chronic pain. What’s the answer? The risk of chemical dependency on a pharmaceutical that could potentially stop my respiratory system while I’m crashed in a drug induced haze? For me the answer is absolutely not, but for some it may not be that simple. Which leads directly to the second way that opioids have impacted my life and so many others. I have known over the years several wonderful people who have lost their lives either directly to pain pills or indirectly through addiction leading to heroin once they no longer had the money or access to these expensive black-market pharmaceuticals. To those of you reading this that have had similar experiences, my heart goes out to you! So, what do we do? Pull opioids out of the medical toolbox? Then what? Do we have to simply live with the pain with no safe alternative? It is my belief that opioids do in fact serve a purpose and can be helpful if prescribed correctly. It is also my belief that in many cases cannabis could be the answer and I’m far from alone in this opinion. Consider this, the United States consumes 70-80% of all manufactured opioids in a 60-billion-dollar chronic pain industry (the root of many issues might be found in that statistic alone). Now let’s look at states like Colorado and California where cannabis has been fully legalized. In those two states the sales of pharmaceutical opioids dipped 80%! In states with legal medicinal cannabis there have been numerous patients that have been able to decrease their opioid consumption by significant percentages simply by medicating with both. I simply don’t understand why a plant that is less addictive than caffeine, nicotine, or even sugar and is responsible for zero over dose deaths is illegal, while opioids are responsible for over 65% of the total drug over dose deaths in the United States. Don’t even get me started on fentanyl! Then again, you think maybe it’s tied to that 60 billion figure I mentioned above? I’ll leave you to your own deductions dear reader. My choice, I’ll stick to cannabis. I love you all, stay safe!

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