Reversing the Trend: The Use of Medical Cannabis in Treating Opioid Addiction in Pennsylvania.
The amount of opioid overdoses leading to death has increased significantly both in the United States and in our state of Pennsylvania. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the death toll for opioid abuse topped 33,000 in 2015. As a country and a state, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic and this number will continue to rise if the issue is not addressed.
Pennsylvania medical cannabis law went into effect on April 17th, 2016 upon the signing of Act 16 by Governor Tom Wolf. This law will allow Pennsylvania residents the use of medical cannabis for specified medical conditions under a physician’s care. Not only can medical cannabis be of benefit for a growing list of chronic health conditions, there is real potential for the medicinal use of this plant to aid in relief of the opioid crisis plaguing our state. AgriMed Industries is positioned to lead the charge against this crisis facing Pennsylvania.
Many patients are initially prescribed opioids to treat medical conditions involving chronic pain. While effective for pain management, these drugs often cause addiction and unwanted side effects, even in small doses. Drug tolerance of opioids can be reached rapidly in many. Often, patients find themselves needing increasing amounts of the drug to reach the desired effect of pain relief. Taking increasing amounts of the medication is what leads to addiction and accidental overdose.
AgriMed Industries believes there are safer alternatives for Pennsylvanians. Medical cannabis has many of the same therapeutic effects that prescription opioid users seek, with none of the drawbacks. The medicinal benefits are mainly attributed two of the active healing compounds of cannabis called cannabinoids: Cannabidiol (CBD,)and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.) One of these compounds in particular, CBD, has a wide variety of medical applications. CBD has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes medical application of cannabis a great choice for patients suffering from chronic pain and muscle tension; both conditions that prescription opioids would normally treat. AgriMed Industries uses the latest science and technology to ensure we are providing our patients with clean and consistent cannabis-based medicine.
It is worthwhile to note that medical cannabis is a nontoxic substance of which no overdose deaths are directly linked. While opioids are notorious for accidental overdose and withdrawal, medical cannabis does not have any known withdrawal symptoms of its own. Cannabis is even known to treat the most common opioid withdrawal symptoms, including agitation, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. Medical cannabis could foreseeably ease the transition for those suffering through opioid addiction and withdrawal.
Research on medical cannabis is ongoing and medical experts are continuously adding to the list of conditions that cannabis can treat. Seizure disorders, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, gastrointestinal disorders, and insomnia are just a few more conditions which medical cannabis can successfully ease. The current Pennsylvania medical cannabis law will allow for many of these patients to access a new and viable treatment option.
The need to address Pennsylvania’s opioid overdose and addiction epidemic is urgent. As a business innovator in the state, AgriMed Industries believes that Governor Wolf’s signing of Act 16 is a step forward in addressing this ongoing crisis. Opioid addiction and overdose can affect anyone, and it will continue to take lives if no intervention takes place. Medicinal use of cannabis can be a valid piece of the puzzle in reversing the opioid addiction and overdose trend.
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