Cannabis & THE U.S. DRUG WAR: were we lied to?

96,000 overdose deaths ARE RECORDED ANNUALLY WITH OPIATES & PAIN KILLERS; CANNABIS STILL CONSIDERED NO-RISK 

The United States is currently in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. However, the culprit is not the one we most commonly attribute to the country’s prolonged Drug War. Fatal overdoses are on the rise, and it’s not just because more people are using drugs. The number of Americans who use illicit substances remains relatively stable over time. The big difference these days? Drugs are more potent than ever before, which means that many people can end up overdosing with just one use. They are also more readily available than ever, and a trifecta of profitability (prison industrial, recovery industry, and judicial system) keeps the machine going ad nauseam.

No matter where you look, you will find in large quantity hard-working Americans who get up early every day to support and provide for their families. This can look like many things, whether it be working in a factory, office setting, or outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. While honorable and rewarding, full-time responsibilities can often compound into longterm health concerns – especially if they go untreated for a significant amount of time, or proper healthcare is not provided. Many ailments and symptoms could be treated with medical marijuana in place of opioids, which might help people who are raising a family or continuing their day job to avoid the negative effects of such drugs.

More than 130 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses. We are increasingly discovering that opioids don’t even work for the patients they are recommended to; not only is there a high risk of addiction, mental health issues, and physical side effects, but they can also lead to unexpected misuse and ultimately death. Medical marijuana is one of many potential alternative treatment options, so it is ideal that an individual explore all of their options before making an informed decision. It can be assessed, however, that opioids are not the answer; even on a surface level, the problem they cause is unprecedented.

Marijuana is evidently a less harmful option than opioids. Why? Because it’s intricately and purposefully grown, processed, tested, tracked, administered and supervised, all under the informed guidance that it will consistently benefit the patient’s quality of life while maintaining very little risk for addiction and dependence.

Despite shady efficacy rates, high rate of abuse, and mortality risk, prescription pain killers have an impressive profit margin which keep them in rotation for medicinal purposes. Vested interests include (but are not limited to) pharmaceutical companies and their representatives, political lobbyists, and doctors who receive the “wine, dine, and all-expenses-paid family trip to Hawaii” package. On the countrywide scoreboard, opioid painkillers are a leading cause of mortality due to overdose. Since 1999, there have been over 821,000 opioid misuse and abuse deaths.

Synthetic opioids, such as methadone and fentanyl, are the most common substances involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. This is largely due to their microscopic dosage indications; just a couple of grains of fentanyl would be enough to kill an adult. If we want to turn around the opioid epidemic and save lives, we must look for safer alternatives and disavow that which does not serve our communities. The majority of drug overdose fatalities in the United States are caused by opioids, not marijuana.

Every year, the opioid epidemic costs the U.S. economy $78.5 billion in lost productivity, addiction treatment, criminal justice expenses, and healthcare expenditures. What if US lawmakers were to turn the switch and allow doctor-supervised cannabis across all states? What if medical marijuana was the first step in receiving treatment for those with chronic pain? It could be life-saving, both socially and economically.

Opioid deaths increased during the pandemic, as expected

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause widespread chaos and confusion, many Americans are struggling. The virus has had a devastating impact on the economy, and the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. Unfortunately, being aware of these consequences did not necessarily make a global pandemic easier for the average Joe; instead, our weak spots became more apparent, and the requirement for solidarity amongst one another clear beyond a reasonable doubt.


Despite all the destruction, there are some bright spots. The ability to work from home has been beneficial to many people. Unemployment benefits are also available for those who have lost their jobs. We must remember that this too will pass. The world has faced pandemics in the past, and we have emerged stronger than before. We will get through this crisis too. But we need to support each other through it.

Mental health remains a major component that has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Americans are not only worried about getting sick, but also their mental well-being. The number of individuals reporting anxiety or depression symptoms rose to 41.45% during the timeframe between March of 2020 and now. Adults 18-29 years experienced the most substantial increase in diagnosed mental health issues. Americans are turning to legal CBD oils, Kratom, and marijuana for comfort instead of seeking assistance for their mental illness because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

It’s time we start looking at how we can better care for our minds – as well as our bodies – when it comes to this virus and its aftermath. Of the many things requested and/or mandated by our local, state, and federal governments, mental and physical health seems to be frequently overlooked. The impact of this is palpable.

Do Prescription Opioids Make It Easy to Overdose?

There are a variety of reasons why someone may take an excessive amount of opioid medicines, but some of the most frequent ones have to do with chemical dependency and mental health issues – both of which are a direct effect of the drug itself. Opioid addiction can be triggered by a number of things, including dependence and mental illness conditions that are commonly associated with chronic pain.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction. There are many resources available, and seeking help is the first step on the road to recovery.

People who take pain medications or are considered opioid-dependent face a higher risk of adverse side effects. Here is why:

1. Less Effective in Relieving Pain

It is not always necessary to use opioid pain medications. Although this isn’t true for everyone, the majority of individuals would be less inclined to start utilizing opioids if they knew what they were capable of doing. Because the human brain understands that pain receptors play an important function in the body when they no longer consistently report symptoms of pain and inflammation.

The body’s natural response to opioids is to enhance pain receptors’ sensitivity. This is an effective strategy, as it will help to ensure that the pain receptors are working properly. However, this increased sensitivity can also lead to increased discomfort and a higher level of pain. By understanding this mechanism, we can work to mitigate these side effects and improve the overall experience with opioids.

The body’s sensitivity to pain is frequently increased in response to opioid medicines working to reduce discomfort. This is an effective strategy, as it helps to ensure that if the receptors are not working properly, the problem can be corrected. However, for patients taking opioids, this increased sensitivity can lead to increased discomfort and pain. In some cases, patients may need to switch to a different opioid medication or increase the potency of their current medication in order to continue managing their pain successfully.

Opioids can stop working abruptly, leaving the patient to experience intense levels of pain they may not have endured for years. When their pain was effectively managed with prescription medications, this could be a huge step back for the individual.
Symptoms of severe anxiety or depression are frequently seen in those with treatment-resistant pain. This can be very frustrating for them, as they may have worked hard to find a solution to their pain and then have it return. These patients need to seek help from a mental health professional if they are struggling with these emotions. Treatment for anxiety or depression can often help improve pain symptoms as well.

2. Opioids can be made more potent when they stop working well

When a person with chronic pain sees their primary care physician, they may inform the doctor that their prescription opioid dosage isn’t sufficient. Two indicators that opioids aren’t working well for them are an increase in pain intensity and a change in frequency.

While NSAIDs can be effective for some people, for others they do not provide adequate relief from moderate to severe pain. In these cases, a pain management practitioner may suggest a combination of natural remedies such as ice, heat, compression exercises, or elevation. If this does not provide relief, the doctor may recommend a change in medication.

The treatment for hyperalgesia, or heightened sensitivity in pain receptors, has previously been to raise the strength and frequency of opioid dosages. However, this often only exacerbates the problem by causing patients to become more sensitive to pain. A better solution is needed that doesn’t involve increasing opioid doses. One potential solution is to use different medications or therapies that can help manage pain without causing further sensitivity in pain receptors.

The number of overdoses from opioid medications has continued to climb, even though The number of overdoses was supposed to decrease every year as a result of new educational and legal standards for physicians to manage opioid prescriptions. Improved education and new legal requirements are needed to help control the number of opioid overdoses.

In the United States, chronic pain affects more than 50 million people. Chronic high-intensity pain affects about 8% of US adults. Patients with this sort of suffering may find basic chores such as washing and dressing to be tremendously difficult, especially when it comes to self-care and work. There are certain methods for coping with chronic agony and enhancing the quality.

3. Consuming opiates after being incarcerated

Unfortunately, the United States judicial system is set up so that most addicts will need to receive a prison sentence in order to receive proper rehabilitation services and recovery plans. Even then, some individuals who are addicted to drugs and have spent time in jail might not be eligible for treatment. Prison is a tough place to live, and it’s difficult to obtain narcotics while incarcerated, which makes withdrawal even more precarious. The memory of the addiction, however, persists even if the individual has not used drugs for years. This can cause further mental and emotional disturbances down the line, most of which will go undiagnosed and untreated.

Ex-felons are a major source of annual opioid fatalities. This group is particularly susceptible to the aftereffects of returning to normal life after a lengthy sentence – with zero tolerance and an ill-informed understanding of the substance. The stress and anxiety associated with this transition may be overwhelming, causing some individuals to seek comfort in readily available opioid drugs.

In North Carolina, former convicts had a very high incidence of opioid overdose, according to research. This is worrying because those who have not spent time in jail are forty times more likely to die as a result of an opioid overdose. There may be a variety of reasons for this, but one possibility is that those who have been imprisoned are more prone to relapse after release because they were never appropriately rehabilitated for their drug use during their time served.

4. Loophole prescriptions are encouraged by unmanaged pain

If you’re already taking the maximum amount of prescription medications determined by your doctor each month, you may be in agony and desperate for relief. If this is the case, look for alternative healthcare providers. Try having more than one regular caregiver or frequent clinics to assist you to access the treatment you require.

The number of opioids that a patient may get from many prescribers rises considerably. It might be difficult to keep track of the number of opioids a patient is receiving unless the patient has opted into electronic health records. A nationwide approach for providing precise prescription and therapy plans for persons who need them would assist guarantee that people are receiving the appropriate amount of opioid medication.

It’s impossible to stop patients from obtaining prescriptions by more than one doctor, especially since addiction specialists are so busy. However, by using electronic health records, practitioners can keep track of which patients are receiving prescriptions from multiple doctors. This can help to ensure that those who are abusing opioids are not able to get prescription drugs from multiple sources.

5. The combination of alcohol and opioids

While overdose cases involving alcohol and opioids are often thought to be deliberate, this is not always the case. In some instances, individuals may take prescription opioids without knowing that they are dangerous in combination with alcohol. This can lead to serious health consequences, including death. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with mixing these substances and to take steps to protect yourself and those around you.

Many individuals are unaware that opioids and alcohol may be deadly in combination, especially because they mistakenly believe since they have done it in the past they are invulnerable to the risk associated with the behavior. People who take frequent doses of opioids are more likely to have negative consequences from mixing them with alcohol, and although it may not happen with every instance, the effects can happen either gradually over time or all of a sudden and seemingly out of the blue.

Many people die from accidental overdoses of opioids and alcohol. These deaths are usually the result of people not realizing that the two drugs can interact dangerously. Breathing can be slowed down by opioid medications, and when combined with alcohol, their impact can be amplified, resulting in respiratory arrest, coma, or unconsciousness. It is simple to forget you are taking opioid medicines if you are on a constant dosage for an extended period of time.

6. Side effects of opioids

When individuals start taking opioid as prescribed, they generally experience one or more adverse effects which may or may not outweigh the initial benefits of the drug. However, people can have varied responses to opioid medications if they take them for a lengthy period of time. Some patients find that the side effects from taking opioid prescriptions can be worse than the symptoms of the disease or disorder. For these patients, finding an alternative treatment plan is essential.

There are many different types of medications available, both natural and pharmaceutical, which can help treat the symptoms of disease or disorder. Patients should work with their doctor to find the best treatment plan for them, and not subscribe to the first option presented to them without further research.

Addiction to prescription medications can happen to anyone, regardless of whether their doctor prescribed the medication or not. Some patients may hesitate to report their addiction to their primary care provider, out of fear of judgment or blame. It’s incredibly important that you are comfortable enough with your healthcare provider to divulge the information necessary to properly diagnose and treat your particular condition. Addiction can be a particularly difficult condition to communicate with a medical professional, but those who are affected can take solace in the knowledge that there are now other alternatives available and medical marijuana patients are happily sharing their success stories in using cannabis in place of prescription pain killers, wherever and whenever they can.

The following are some of the most frequent negative effects associated with opioid medicines:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness or sedation are symptoms.
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing

Medical Cannabis and pain management, what do we know?

With the legalization of cannabis in states, compassionate care was one of the main components promised by the grassroots activist communities that helped make it happen. This means that medical marijuana should, first and foremost, be an alternative medicine for patients suffering from debilitating conditions. Recreational (and decriminalization) come second to that, although just as critical to individual wellbeing.


Cannabis can be most effective for pain management, because chronic pain can come from more than one location in the body and therefore is not just a symptom to treat with medication, but also indication of another condition to address. The nerves that detect pain are distributed throughout your entire body. Cannabinoid receptors abound on the peripheral nerves that detect and communicate pain. When cannabinoid receptors are exposed to cannabinoids, they cease them from communicating pain effectively.

Cannabinoids have been scientifically proven to disrupt ensemble synchrony naturally. They also assist to keep pyramidal cells from sending messages reporting pain to the brain by disrupting ensemble synchrony in the central nervous system. The pain and inflammation response is still occurring in the body, but you don’t sense it as acutely when cannabis numbs your sensors.

Low-potency opiates in cannabis? Prescribers have another choice

Some people have claimed that cannabis might jeopardize the pharmaceutical sector. Cannabis may also take over from opioid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain management, according to some experts. Others advocate for a decline in the amount and strength of opioids used. This would be achieved by means of treatment plans that combine lower-dose opioids with medical cannabis.

Several studies have shown that physician-supervised cannabis therapy can be effective and beneficial for patients. In states where medical marijuana is permitted, physicians have the authority to prescribe or recommend it to their patients. When will cannabis be able to take the first step toward improving pain management outcomes?


The potential impact of making cannabis the primary treatment for pain may save many people’s lives. When patients are discharged from jail or hospitals, they could be given medical marijuana as part of opioid abuse therapy or as a standalone option. Cannabis and other medicines may conflict. However, because cannabis has few to no negative effects, it is preferable to opioids in most cases. That implies that individuals who have multiple diseases and symptoms can be treated with both prescription medicines and cannabis.

The low-dose compounds in cannabis and prescription opioids have different pain-relieving mechanisms, which might make them more effective for people with chronic pain. Ultimately, the continued preservation and exploration of cannabis as a medicine seems to be widely agreed upon by Americans as beneficial, although there is still a lot of debate as to whether or not it should be decriminalized as a whole. Federally, it remains illegal at this time, and although someday that may change, the opportunity to see if you qualify for a card today is only a phone call away.

To learn more or if you’d like to book your appointment, visit: https://greenteamdoctors.com/utah/

Get in touch with us!

Green Team Doctors | Utah Certified Qualified Medical Providers (QMP)
6975 South Union Park Avenue, Suite 600, Office 679
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84047
(801) 382-9006

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