Marijuana Can Save Lives
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Marijuana Can Save Lives
Posted by CN Staff on February 08, 2018 at 12:58:46 PT
By Richard A. Friedman
Source: New York Times
USA -- This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions paused a discussion of the opioid epidemic to, once again, go after marijuana. He suggested that addictive pain medication wasn’t the only problem and that many heroin addicts start out “with marijuana and other drugs.”There is a relationship between cannabis and opioids, but Mr. Sessions has it backward. Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug to opioid addiction; it’s a safer alternative to pain medicines. Mr. Sessions’s vow to crack down on marijuana will only make the opioid epidemic worse.
We know that 40 percent of all opiate overdose deaths involve a prescription opiate. So having legal access to cannabis as another option for pain relief may actually reduce consumption of opiates.I know it sounds counterintuitive, but consider the evidence. To start, a large study assessed the effect of medical-marijuana laws on opiate-related deaths between 1999 and 2010 in all 50 states and reported a 25 percent decrease in opiate overdose mortality in states where medical marijuana was legal, compared with those where it wasn’t. The study found that in 2010, medical-marijuana laws resulted in an estimated 1,729 fewer deaths than expected.Other epidemiologic studies found similar results. A study published last year examined opiate-related deaths in Colorado between 2000 and 2015. Researchers compared mortality rates before and after the state legalized recreational cannabis in 2014. For controls, they chose two nearby states: Nevada, which legalized only medical cannabis, and Utah, where all cannabis use is illegal. The study found a 6.5 percent drop in opiate-related deaths after recreational cannabis became legal in Colorado.Likewise, other researchers examined the link between medical cannabis and opiate use in a group of patients with chronic pain in New Mexico, one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. They reported that subjects who had access to medical cannabis were 17 times more likely to stop using opiates for pain compared with those not using cannabis.Because these are all observational studies, they cannot prove a causal link between cannabis use and lower opiate-related mortality. Still, the consistent epidemiologic evidence is hard to ignore.Why might cannabis work so well as an alternative to opioids? It does offer some mild pain relief. But more significant, both opiates and cannabis — like all recreational drugs — cause the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway. That signal conveys a powerful sense of pleasure and craving. Thus, cannabis might pre-empt some of the rewarding effects of opiates, decreasing the general desire to use them.There is also intriguing preliminary evidence that cannabidiol, a major component of marijuana, can blunt craving in individuals with opioid dependence following a period of abstinence.If cannabis were actually a dangerous gateway drug, as the attorney general suggested, it would be very easy to see in the data. We would find that medical-marijuana laws increased opiate drug use and overdose deaths, when in fact just the opposite has happened.We would also expect to see a consistent sequence of drug abuse from cannabis to, say, opiates or cocaine, across different cultures. But this is not the case at all.For example, in Japan, where marijuana use is relatively rare, 83 percent of people who used recreational drugs did not begin with cannabis. This was true as well for 60 percent of South Africans.A more plausible explanation for the common finding that people use a series of recreational drugs is a general propensity for risk-taking behavior, of which drug use is just one manifestation.None of this is to say that marijuana is without risks. It certainly isn’t. Cannabis can impair cognition, attention and intellectual performance, though the effects are reversible. And in some individuals who are genetically at risk, it can unleash psychotic states. But there is little evidence that marijuana use increases mortality.In contrast, opiate overdose is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing about 91 Americans every day. President Trump has rightly called the opioid crisis a “public-health emergency” but has yet to articulate a real policy or allocate the necessary resources to deal with it.At the very least, let’s not spend precious resources on a senseless cannabis crackdown — especially when the evidence suggests that it would only worsen the opioid scourge and cost more American lives.Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer.Source: New York Times (NY) Author: Richard A. FriedmanPublished: February 8, 2018Copyright: 2018 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on February 13, 2018 at 13:53:18 PT
Brother Martin Luther King
He was so gifted. He was called to what he did. He was called and he answered. Beautifully. A sanctified man.Every word he spoke for his sacred cause still rings true.Him being, in my mind, a sanctified man, means he wouldn't mind me calling him "Brother" at all.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 13, 2018 at 05:40:02 PT
To Everyone
I love all of your comments. 
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on February 12, 2018 at 16:45:25 PT
No lie can live forever
Because of black history month I heard the MLK "We Shall Overcome" speech on the radio today! >>We are going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. And so I can sing anew, “We shall overcome” and we shall overcome because Carlyle is right, “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right, “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.”Yet that scaffold sways the future and behind them unknown stands God within the shadows keeping watch above his own. part is haunting - he was talking about his own future. What a leader! The very definition of leadership to me.>>Now, before the victory’s won, some of us will have to get scarred up a bit, but we shall overcome. Before the victory is won, some more will be thrown into crowded and frustrating jail cells, but we shall overcome. Before the victory is won, some will be called bad names, some will be called Reds and Communists because they believe in the brotherhood of man, but we shall overcome. Before the victory is won, some more may have to face physical death, but if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children and their white brothers from an eternal psychological death and eternal death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive. Yes, we shall overcome, because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on February 12, 2018 at 09:59:21 PT
To add to the fearsomeness of the situation
The prohibitionists have committees out there, apparently, looking for other things to prohibit and other ways to harm those that trust plants and herbs more than they do the pharmaceutical concoctions.It's called Kratom, I think, that they are after now. It's so sickening. They want to turn it into another cash cow for law enforcement like cannabis has been.Why can't they learn from history? Why can't they see the true evil of their ways? It's not evil to consume a plant for personal use. It is evil to harm others because they want to use or like a plant.The prohibitionists of cannabis are truly evil people. They really are doing evil things to people in the name of their drug-free fetish. They don't know it. They think they are innocent, and actually doing good and doing the right thing. It's called self-righteousness. They can't see that they are literally doing evil work... but they are. They are a party in killing, robbing, and general misery spreading. It ought to be easy to bring to their attention... but, as we know, it's not.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on February 12, 2018 at 09:48:46 PT
John Tyler
I wholeheartedly agree, my friend.When I look at it all... it's political garbage all over the place... strewn with the murdered, the maimed, the disenfranchised, the robbed, the orphaned, the criminal records, the widowed, and the politically powerless.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 12, 2018 at 05:38:05 PT
John Tyler
I agree!
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on February 11, 2018 at 07:54:51 PT
civics 101 Vote for those that support us
There you go. This whole thing is political garbage (and always has been). In the upcoming election, vote for candidates that support cannabis legalization. If any candidate doesn’t support legalization, they can look for another job after the election.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on February 10, 2018 at 15:43:56 PT
Well, there you go....
"Netanyahu told the heads of the ministries he ordered the freeze after receiving a call about the issue of exporting marijuana from Trump, who is against its legalization."
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Comment #2 posted by Garry Minor on February 09, 2018 at 05:05:07 PT:
Trump halts Israeli Cannabis exports 
Israel reportedly halts medical cannabis export plan to avoid upsetting TrumpTimes of IsraelIsrael has halted a plan to export medical marijuana for fear of upsetting US President Donald Trump, a media report said, even as two senior ministers publicly toured a leading Israeli cannabis farm and valued the export market at more than US $1 billion annually.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the plan to be frozen early this week despite support from the Health, Agriculture, and Finance ministries, Hadashot news reported Wednesday.Netanyahu told the heads of the ministries he ordered the freeze after receiving a call about the issue of exporting marijuana from Trump, who is against its legalization. The prime minister made it clear that he did not want Israel to be a pioneer in the export of medical marijuana in order not to anger the US president, according to the report. Canada is the only country that has approved the export of medical marijuana.
Snip Bosm 
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 08, 2018 at 15:14:21 PT
Sessions doesn't HAVE't backwards; HE IS BACKWARDS
We are speaking of a person who will not acknowledge facts regarding anything good related to cannabis.Nothing, is going to change Sessions no matter how positive, good and without any doubt.Sessions supports the devil law; cannabis prohibition, & He will not waiver from the devil; HE'S TOTALLY COMMITTED. 
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