A generation ago, marijuana-legalization proponents met fierce opposition from traditionalists and the broader conservative electorate. Although “botanical” advocates championed a seemingly universally-appealing concept – natural medication – critics claimed the argument was a ruse. In their view, people just wanted to get high. It took the current opioid crisis to finally bring sanity to the discussion.
But why this devastating epidemic? For years, the mainstream media has spotlighted this accelerating opioid crisis. Earlier this year, the Surgeon General, along with various federal health agencies, further articulated this social and economic threat. Although well-meaning, the report focused on individual risks and preventative measures, largely ignoring broader causation factors.
In reality, major pharmaceuticals had a direct impact on the opioid crisis. In May of this year, Vox wrote an alarming piece, indicating that drug-makers incentivized doctors with fancy meals. As a result, these same doctors ramped up prescriptions for whatever opioids their patrons manufactured.
This, however, was a relatively-recent event. Big Pharma sparked the crux of the issue back in the mid to late 1990s. At that time, healthcare facilities saw increased demand for opioids such as painkillers. Whether to recover from surgery or an inflicted trauma, patients sought relief.
A small but watchful segment of the general public voiced concerns about these painkillers’ addictive nature. Pharmaceuticals assuaged those fears, indicating that prescribed opioids were not addictive.
Quite frankly, they were wrong.
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Opioid Crisis Boosts Medical-Marijuana Industry’s Credibility
Today, claiming that prescription drugs didn’t influence the opioid crisis represents extreme intellectual dishonesty. The evidence is simply overwhelming. More importantly, the ongoing and seemingly overwhelming epidemic points to a key irony.
Early marijuana-legalization critics blasted the other side, in part because cannabis is an addictive narcotic. However, these same folks either directly or indirectly allowed Big Pharma to prescribe even more addicting and harmful concoctions.
Let’s face it: if marijuana was truly debilitating, most of this country would fall apart. Therefore, the only difference between opioids and cannabis is that the latter is a Schedule I drug whose mere possession in some states can lead to lengthy prison terms.
Opioids? You can destroy entire fabrics of the American society, and lever untold economic harm with them. Yet the opioid prescribers get a free pass because they are at the top of a twisted power structure.
However, the opioid crisis has transitioned into a raging inferno. The American public is gullible, but not that braindead. They can see the contradiction: medical cannabis, which typically does not integrate the psychoactive compound THC, offers natural benefits without physical or mental/emotional side effects.
So why hasn’t Big Pharma embraced the legalization movement like most Americans have today? Have you tried to patent a plant lately?
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