The Kill Pill

There isn’t a debate that opioid medications are needed. The question of the current problem isn’t one of prohibiting use but using opiates for their intended purpose. Powerful and effective, opioid medications can treat pain post-surgery, for a broken bone or for painful cancers. The trouble seems to have started when opioids began being prescribed for chronic pain as a quick fix. Opiates are nothing new, they have been around in varying forms since always, but recent years have seen a huge spike in the byproduct of opiate use.  Just how damaging are they? 

  • Every day, more than 80 people with opioid addiction die in the United States from an overdose of opiates.
  • About 2.5 million Americans have been diagnose with an opioid use disorder — and many more have been undiagnosed.
  • It is overwhelmingly clear that the gateway drug to heroin is opioid prescription painkillers: 80 percent of heroin users started the habit after taking pharmaceuticals.
  • Each year, 200 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are written, roughly the same number of the entire U.S. adult population.
  • The economic costs for this epidemic is estimated conservatively at $78 billion a year in the U.S.

By any metric, opioids are dangerous and costly. Can cannabis help? There are new studies that say it can. A study in “Trends in Neuroscience” explains how reception in the brain are similar with Opiates and cannabinoids. The difference? Cannabis has no lethal dose, making consumers of cannabis much safer than consumers of opioids. Additionally, when the country is flooded with pills, someone will swallow them. The theory being, fewer pills, fewer chances to abuse the pills and overdose.

Cannabis may not be for everyone. In a certain sense, it’s like saying “Carob is as good as chocolate” we all know that’s a lie but for certain people, carob may replace chocolate. It seems like we are in an interesting era where we are on the cusp of a giant cultural and scientific shift in terms of drugs. New science helps us understand potential for risk better all the time and shifting cultural attitudes can expand the applications of the knowledge. If the accepted cultural attitude is “cannabis is poison leading to death” all the science in the world doesn’t change that belief. It takes time, likely it took time for most people to believe the world was in fact, round, despite having the scientific data to prove that. The knowledge for applications of cannabis is in its infancy. Without comprehensive clinical trials, we are stuck in using it as a craft. 

The research is changing all the time, we are learning more and more. From an anecdotal perspective, at High Sobriety we see people doing well with using cannabis for the detox and as a substitution protocol. If it helps people, brings them to safety, and offers a softer landing, why not? 


Author: Joe Schrank