Big Pharma is contributing millions to close down medical marijuana, and drug companies are concerned because marijuana is an alternative to painkillers. The producers of the painkiller Fentanyl contributed $500,000 to oppose marijuana legalization in Arizona.
Fentanyl was linked to Prince’s passing. They’re not the only ones. Purdue Pharma (Oxycontin), Janssen (Nucynta), Reckitt Benckiser (Nurofen), also fund anti-marijuana activism. In fact, drug companies spent more than $880,000 million on fighting marijuana over the past decade.
In 2013, the 17 states with medical marijuana saw painkiller prescripts fall. It’s time for pharmaceutical corporations to take accountability for the opioid crisis. However, that’s America for you, where pharmaceutical corporations determine what is medicine whilst their citizens die for money.
Prescript medication that people are given by their doctor frequently has side effects that can have extremely unfavorable consequences on the patient, from being depressed to suicidal, and countless patients become simply a statistic.
It’s so sad that the millions these companies are getting aren’t going towards education, teaching, infrastructure and everything else that’s productive.
Big Pharma paid out a reported 880 million dollars to prevent legalization and no one finds that as proof that it’s a natural medication? When are people going to quit calling this a drug and start being honest with themselves?
Meanwhile, children die from alcohol poisoning every single day, and no one bats an eyelid. The only reason pharmaceutical organizations are fighting against marijuana is because they know that it is a natural cheap relief that has no negative effects on the body. These organizations are way to greedy.
How in the world did we all manage to live with pain 50 years ago before Pharmaceutical companies and doctors began elbowing their miracle pain relievers on anyone that said they hurt.
There has been an increase in the prescribing of drugs by outpatient doctors, motivated somewhat by the pharmaceutical corporations that market those drugs. Between 1999 and 2010, selling of these opioid analgesics, medications like Vicodin similar to (Codeine), Percocet similar to (Paracetamol), and OxyContin similar to (Morphine), quadrupled.
By 2010, the United States, with about five percent of the world’s inhabitants, was using ninety-nine percent of the world’s hydrocodone (the narcotic in Vicodin), along with eighty percent of the oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin), and sixty-five percent of the hydromorphone (in Dilaudid).
As narcotic prescripts grew, so did mortality from opioid analgesic overdoses, from around four thousand to about seventeen thousand. Investigations have revealed that patients who take narcotics for chronic illness are less inclined to improve function, and are less liable to go back to work.
The possible side effects of prescription narcotics include constipation, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment, dependence, and overdosing. When patients take narcotics for a long time, they can even become more susceptible to pain, a malady called hyperalgesia.
What’s more, no medication reliably reduces pain in all patients, and narcotics are no exception. Furthermore, there isn’t much data that the prescription of narcotics to manage chronic, non-cancer pain is productive over a long time, most studies of prescription drugs last just twelve to sixteen weeks.
The use of prescript narcotics and the difficulties associated with them are so pervasive that, the Food and Drug Administration suggested tightening regulations for how doctors prescribe some of the most regularly used narcotic painkillers.
How did doctors, who promise to do no wrong, let the management of prescription narcotics get so out of hand?
Not long ago, doctors in the United States prescribed narcotics principally for short-term pain, similar the kind that people encounter following surgery, or for pain associated with cancer or to the end of life.
Then came two small reports in medical publications that helped set the foundation for an increased capacity for prescript narcotics. The first, a hundred-word letter to the editor published in 1980 in the New England Journal of Medicine, stated that less than one percent of patients at Boston University Medical Center who took narcotics whilst hospitalized became addicted.
The second, a study issued in 1986 in the journal Pain, concluded that, for non-cancer pain, narcotics can be safely and effectively prescribed to selected patients with relatively little risk of producing the maladaptive behaviors which define opioid abuse.
The authors urged prudence and stated that the drugs should be utilized as an alternative therapy. They further asked for longer-term investigations of patients on narcotics, they are still waiting for these to be done.
At about the same time, the corporations that made these narcotics, including Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and Endo Pharmaceuticals, started to aggressively sell their goods for long-term, non-cancer pain, including neck and back pain.
They sold their prescript narcotics to doctors through advertisements in very respected publications, and through continuing education courses for medical professionals. They further financed non-profits such as the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Pain Society, the latter previously overseen by Dr. Russell Portenoy, a co-author of the Pain study and a proselytizer for extended narcotics prescribing.
The American Pain Society issued guidelines that supported doctors to increase their control of prescript narcotics to reduce pain.
In 2005, a medical doctor in Wichita, Kansas, noticed a group of deaths that were very similar in character, in three years, sixteen men and women, amid the ages of twenty-two and fifty-two, had died in their sleep. In the hours before they lost consciousness, they had been inactive and dopey, fighting to stay conscious.
Several had complained of chest pain, and that they couldn’t get their breath. All of them had taken painkillers prescribed by a family practice called the Schneider Medical Clinic. The clinic was in Haysville, a working-class neighborhood of Wichita. The principal enterprises in the area were aircraft and plastics, neither of which was doing well.
A mile south of the clinic, there was little except wheat fields. The principal doctor was Stephen Schneider, a fifty-one-year-old osteopath with sandy hair and dimples. He attended the county commissioner and the chief of police, gave examinations to the boys at the Haysville high school, and did rounds at district nursing homes.
One of his patients, Jeffrey Peters, said that Schneider reminded him of the kind of family doctor we had forty years ago when he was growing up, a doctor who will sit down and listen to you and joke around and make you feel comfortable.
On September 13, 2005, Schneider arrived at work to discover the clinic cordoned off with police ribbon. He called his wife, Linda Atterbury, a blond, peppy forty-seven-year-old nurse, who was at home with their two youthful daughters, and told her to come to work.
Agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration led Schneider into one of the clinic’s fourteen exam quarters and questioned him as to why he had been prescribing so many opioid painkillers.
He replied that sixty percent of his patients experienced persistent pain, and few other doctors in the district would attend them. The agents recorded, that he tries to believe his patients when they describe their health problems and he will believe them until they prove themselves wrong.
When questioned how many of his patients had died, Schneider stated that he didn’t know. After the raid, fifty patients endorsed a petition that stated, “We stand united in support of Dr. Schneider.”
A receptionist hovered an emblem on the exterior of the clinic, and patients scribbled friendly notes on it. The Schneiders further received many letters from patients. One wrote, “I believe that you have saved my life many times. Sometimes just by listening.” A woman with a connective-tissue disease revealed, “If you have never lived with chronic pain, you have absolutely nothing to say. . . . Chronic pain changes who you are. Without the medications I am on I have no life left!”
Schneider hadn’t considered of becoming a doctor until 1979, when his three-year-old daughter, Leigh Anne, caught pneumonia. She was restricted to an oxygen tent for a month. He believed the hospital was a neat and fantastic atmosphere.
At the time, he was next in line to become the handler of the meat department at Dillons, a local grocery shop. He had imagined working there with his first wife, who was a cashier, for the rest of his life.
However, once his daughter improved, he enlisted at Wichita State University and, in 1983, became the first person in his family to graduate from college.
Following his first wife leaving him, Schneider married Atterbury, who was drawn to what she described his animal heart, his kindness to pets, children, and the elderly. She inspired him to apply to medical school, even though she worried that a professional that high up he may get a big head.
At the University of Health Sciences, a school of osteopathy in Kansas City, Schneider felt antagonized by what he called the Dr. God feeling. He found some of his attending physicians demanding and demeaning to patients and nurses. His daughter, Leigh Anne, who is now a doctor, said that her father was never comfortable with the level of status that came with the position.
After Schneider had worked for the clinic for thirteen years, Riverside was purchased by a bigger hospital operation, and he and his new employer couldn’t agree on a contract. In 2001, he set up a temporary office at an optometry clinic. It was so tiny that people would bring lawn chairs and wait for their appointments in the parking lot.
He was at the optometry clinic for only a few months before he and his wife took out a two-million-dollar loan to establish a bigger medical center. Atterbury, who would run the office, stated that she obtained an architect to build her dream for her husband.
The clinic, which had its own X-ray room and blood lab, was designed in the Pueblo Revival manner, with tan stucco walls, two fountains, and a sky dome. Schneider requested a Catholic minister to bless the property and sprinkle the area with holy water.
He envisioned an alternative to the emergency room, the clinic would be accessible seven days a week, and all patients could be seen the day they called. He obtained three physician assistants and a family doctor, as well as a cardiologist and a spine surgeon, who would attend the clinic once a week.
The Haysville Times highlighted a photo of the mayor of Haysville, the chief of police, and Schneider, in white construction helmets, standing in front of a billboard that said, “Future Site of Dr. Schneider.”
Schneider was one of the rare doctors in the region to willingly accept Medicaid, which, he stated, compensated less than a fifth of the cost of his appointments, and he immediately drew in a huge group of patients who were on disability.
Many suffered from lower-back pain following years employed constructing aircraft machinery. In medical school, Schneider had been shown that opioids were so addictive that patients should not be prescribed them except if they were dying, however, the thought in the profession had unfolded.
Doctors started using opioids more liberally in the seventies, following the appearance of the palliative-care movement, the first branch of medicine to make the change of the suffering it’s main aim.
In the eighties, physicians managing patients who had cancer, whether or not it was terminal, prescribed opioids more unobstructedly. A 1989 report in the New England Journal of Medicine declared, “To allow a patient to experience unbearable pain or suffering is unethical medical practice.”
By the nineties, this ethos was being used in all varieties of pain. In 1995, the American Pain Society, an organization of health experts across disciplines, suggested that doctors examine pain the fifth vital sign, observing it as frequently as they measure pulse.
Schneider stated that, when he opened his own practice, pharmaceutical reps came in and told him that it was okay to treat persistent pain since there is no actual cure. They had all kinds of comparisons confirming that the long-acting medications were suitable.
In 2002, soon after the clinic began, a pharmaceutical agent from Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, arranged for Schneider and Jon Parks, a pain doctor in Wichita, to have a meal at a steak house.
Parks described his practice and gave Schneider a copy of his pain management contract, which expected his patients to yield to urine tests. Schneider gave the agreement to his own patients and, with limited training, started treating chronic pain.
When a Wichita druggist asked Schneider if he would be prepared to take all the pain patients of a neighborhood family doctor who had recently died, Schneider replied, “Sure, just send them over.”
Similar to most doctors, Schneider asked his patients to measure their pain on a scale from one to ten (pain as bad as it can be). Several patients marked their pain a ten or ten-plus and complained that they felt crippled or incompetent, and frequently discouraged.
The aircraft business, like any trade, wears out its people. However, he did find himself questioning why his patients seemed to have become wimpier. They were no longer prepared to tolerate any pain, they wanted it immediately annihilated.
Schneider occasionally introduced them to physical therapists or anesthesiologists, but for the most part, he gave them the relief they asked for. In a letter of gratitude to Schneider, one patient wrote, “I call you the pick-up doctor, why? Because after these other doctors screw your life up from negligence in surgery (like the disc on my back), they do not want to bother with you anymore. So you get referred to Dr. Schneider.”
Pain is badly managed, especially amongst the underprivileged and the mentally ill, in part since there are lingering uncertainties about whether such a personal experience is equal or real.
The system is not well designed to manage patients. What you end up with is a primary-care doctor who is stuck desiring to do something for his patients but doesn’t have the means to do much of something but sign another prescription.
Although nearly a hundred million Americans experience constant pain, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine, medical schools dedicate, on average, just nine hours to pain, and barely around four thousand physicians are board-certified as pain experts.
There are few doctors in Wichita who were ready to accept all the hassle and uncertainty associated with chronic pain. Schneider was trying to do the right thing.
His patients’ numbers fell on the pain scale, however, their capacity to perform usually did, too, many left their employment, applying for disability with Schneider’s assistance. When family members challenged a number of opioids that their loved ones were taking, Schneider reassured them that everything would be fine.
A recent college grad who had accompanied his depressed mother to appointments stated that he frequently questioned if she should see a psychiatrist. Schneider told him, that the depression would wane with the pain, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The patient finally killed herself. Her son stated that the difficulty wasn’t that Schneider was dishonest, it was that he was so flipping happy.
Almost a dozen sales delegates from pharmaceutical corporations came to Schneider’s office each day. They took him out for meals, sent him to seminars and conferences, and gave him generous samples and giveaways.
Schneider’s cluttered office included a Lexapro clock, Viagra pens, and a cup highlighting the logo for Nasonex nasal spray. The clinic never had to purchase its own tissues, since drug organizations provided boxes marked with their name.
Atterbury questioned how physicians could stay grounded when the pharmaceutical agents were forever glorifying them. They treat the doctors like they are above everybody else, attending to them, catering to them, dressing well for them, stating, ‘Where do you want to eat tonight?”
After hearing presentations by the group Cephalon, Schneider became one of the rare family doctors in Wichita to usually prescribe Actiq, a raspberry-flavored lollipop that contains fentanyl, which is eighty times more powerful than morphine.
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended Actiq just for severe cancer pain, but Cephalon’s pharmaceutical delegates, who called themselves pain care specialists, informed Schneider that it worked well for all kinds of pain, especially migraines.
While it’s legal for doctors to prescribe medications for treatments that have not been certified by the F.D.A., pharmaceutical corporations are banned from selling drugs for such purposes. According to whistleblower actions later filed upon the corporation, and settled, in 2008, for more than four hundred million dollars, the pain care specialists sought out doctors who did not treat cancer.
They were told to answer to issues about the off-label usage of the drugs by stating that they are designated for cancer pain, but wouldn’t you admit that pain is pain. The company sent Schneider’s physician assistant to New York for an Actiq consultants meeting, it paid for her to stay at the W hotel and to ride a boat on the Hudson.
In 2003, Schneider was sent to an Actiq convention in New Orleans, advocated by Cephalon. He was told that he could stick multiple Actiq lollipops in his mouth and his butt and he still wouldn’t overdose, that it was clinically impossible.
Three years after his clinic started, Schneider visited the first conference of the Sedgwick County Pain Society, a collection of doctors and law-enforcement officers working to reduce the misuse of prescript drugs.
Schneider was one of the first people to talk, and he asked if anyone would be prepared to take some of his Medicaid pain patients since all the doctors in the district had taken the good insurance patients, and given him the unwanted ones. The ones with various illnesses and unreliable histories.
Marijuana is a drug. Nevertheless, apart from that, it is one of the most natural out there, and it’s an excellent medication. The reason man made prescriptions is to make us sick and addicted. Technically our bodies are only supposed to ingest natural medicines.
There are several types of tablets that some people require and we are not talking about painkillers or mood stabilizers like Xanax since marijuana can be a replacement for both. Marijuana is listed in the same class as heroin which is not accurate.
You can overdose on Fentanyl, as well as heroin. Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, and Marijuana is considered to be very safe because of the lack of overdose risk. Whilst prescript painkillers generate thousands of overdose mortality each year, no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose.
However, is it even likely that anyone would overdose on Marijuana? The response is no, and here’s why, because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not found in the brainstem regions regulating respiration, fatal overdoses from Cannabis and cannabinoids do not happen.
In other words, marijuana and opioids influence different pathways of the body. Opioid pathways, further known as receptors, are present in regions of the brain that regulate breathing, and as a consequence, taking too many painkillers can induce a person to cease breathing.
Marijuana works on a totally separate set of pathways. These pathways are termed cannabinoid receptors and they do not alter respiration. Therefore, marijuana cannot induce somebody to stop breathing, no matter how much they ingest.
It may be impossible to die from a marijuana overdose, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t take too much of it, and huge doses of marijuana can lead to adverse manifestations, such as anxiety and paranoia.
This happens more frequently in amateur users who are unfamiliar with dosing. Taking marijuana in the form of edibles further poses a higher risk because the effects are delayed and therefore more difficult to predict.
However, with all that said, the adverse manifestations of a marijuana overdose are simply brief and should wear off in 24 hours. Unlike other drugs, taking too much marijuana won’t take your life.
How many people have died overdosing on marijuana? The short answer? No. Unsurprisingly to marijuana enthusiasts throughout the world, there has yet to be a single recorded mortality associated with a cannabis overdose. In fact, you would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times your normal dose isn’t marijuana to kill you. That would be about 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes.
That’s not to say that taking 40,000 hits is the single way to risk death whilst under the influence of marijuana. Smoking 800 joints in one sitting would put you in danger of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. However, that isn’t exactly the plant’s fault.
In their conclusions on overdose mortality, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that drug deaths are on the increase in the United States. Most prominently, mortality induced by heroin and benzodiazepines, prescript anti-anxiety drugs such as Ativan or Xanax with 6 and 5-fold increases since 2001.
What’s missing from NIDA’s 2015 report? A single report of a deadly cannabis overdose.
Statistics on mortality from marijuana overdose are strangely missing from U.S. national drug reports.
However, the recent 2015 United Nations World Drug Report had a few remarks warning global citizens against the plant.
According to the report, a number of people are admitting themselves for treatment because cannabis use disorders are on the increase. The data implies that more drug users are suffering from cannabis use disorders and there is increasing proof that cannabis may be becoming more dangerous.
How can that even be feasible?
To maintain that marijuana is becoming more harmful speaks to the concern regarding high-THC strains in mainstream society and medical communities. The higher the THC content in the strain, the more inclined a person is to admit themselves into an emergency room or seek treatment for marijuana use.
Unlike its counterpart CBD, THC by itself raises anxiety and paranoia in some people. After a night, or maybe several nights of smoking some top-shelf herb, some users can find themselves feeling a little confused, anxious, or neurotic. This is what we’d describe as a real THC-overdose.
This sort of overdose might make some people uncomfortable for a little time. However, there is still no account of anybody ever dying after smoking some high-potency bud.
With all the confusion about the safety of the cannabis plant, the World Drug Report neglects to report any marijuana mortality. In fact, the report reveals that most drug-related mortality is due to opioids, including heroin and prescript drugs such as Morphine.
Opioid overdoses make up 40.8% of global drug deaths.
By now, the total lack of marijuana deaths should be an enormous neon sign when it comes to the politics of drug legalization. By contrast, 80,000 people die from alcohol-associated diseases periodically.
Over 25,000 Americans died in 2014 alone because of drugs prescribed to them by their doctors. On top of that, over 18,000 Americans died from legally prescribed pain-killers.
With years worth of data on drug deaths, it would appear like common sense to step back and question if no one is dying from marijuana, why is it still banned? Sadly, we still appear to live in a society that’s a little more than stupid.
It’s banned not because the government can’t tax it because they can. It’s taxed in all the legal states, but because a lot of the money they get is from pharmaceutical corporations that make the medication.
If it was legal the government would lose a bunch of money, since marijuana is non-addictive, unlike all hardcore drugs like Xanax, Oxycontin, Morphine et cetera, which keeps the consumer coming back to get more and more, giving the government more money.
However, it’s not regulated yet, indicating that there is no way to calculate what the content in the blood is, therefore, there’s no way to determine how high somebody is to establish a legal limit.
There are some very narrow-minded people out there that believe that marijuana is bad for you, but that is complete rubbish if used with guidelines like you would do the same with prescription medication.
The only thing that would be dangerous is the tobacco that you roll with, however, you don’t have to be a genius to know that tobacco is harmful to your health, but then, so is breathing air.
Nevertheless, cannabis can be consumed in other ways, for example, ingested, using a bong, so you don’t have to smoke it.
The reasons for legalizing the drug entirely revoke the reasoning against it, and people are being extremely naive if they can’t see this. Firstly, marijuana is far less toxic and physically damaging than tobacco or alcohol, and it is inconceivable to overdose.
It has so many medical advantages which the governments disregard, and it isn’t physically addictive either, and for countless people using the drug recreationally and in moderation is actually quite propitious.
For numerous people getting high with their friends at the weekend is the safest and simplest way to unwind following a week of hard work and pressure without much consequence like a crippling hangover or offensive conduct which alcohol tends to cause.
For those that appear to be more open-minded, and know a lot more, perhaps the remainder of those people should go do some research?