“The real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana… real quickly, medical marijuana, people think is a gateway drug to narcotics- it may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic.. but we are not allowed, we are not allowed to study it cuz it’s a ‘Schedule 1 drug’; and I personally believe it could help.”
-Dr. Oz, FOX News, 9/19/09
“Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.1 Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled.2 From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
We now know that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. The amount of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010,3,4 yet there had not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans reported.5,6 Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.7“
There is no excuse for the common practice in U.S. pain clinics to liberally prescribe opioids while doing drug screens and discharging patients if they test positive for a cannabinoid. There is also no excuse for pharmaceutical companies to continue to market opioids as though they work broadly for chronic pain when we know there is no evidence they have efficacy for common conditions such as fibromyalgia.
It also makes no sense that cannabis is still a Schedule I drug when extracts or synthetic forms of cannabinoids are generally Schedule III. Rescheduling cannabis would enable physicians who are interested in trying to help their patients find an appropriate formulation and dose of a cannabinoid to do so.
At present, this is almost a uniquely U.S. problem. We constitute less than 5 percent of the world’s population, and we consume 80 percent of the world’s opioid supply.
More than 14,000 Americans died in 2014 from unintentional overdose of prescription opioids, making this the leading cause of death among younger individuals in many states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”