Opioid crisis: Is the legalization of cannabis a good idea?


On August 26, a judge from Oklahoma ruled against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The State Attorney General filed the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the company caused an opioid crisis. The judge fined Johnson & Johnson $ 572 million. Thousands of lawsuits are likely to go to court. Opioid manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma, have mistakenly sold opioid analgesics. According to Reuters, Purdue is ready to settle the opioid business against it for $ 10 billion to $ 12 billion.

Crisis of American opioids

According to Oklahoma lawyers, about 6,000 people have died from opioid overdoses since 2000. The CDC estimates that about 400,000 people have died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2017. This figure includes deaths due to opioid overdoses. illicit and prescription opioids, such as heroin. According to the CDC, an average of 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.

Opioids relieve moderate to severe pain. However, opioids can be very addictive.

Is marijuana a good substitute?

The FDA classifies most opioids among the controlled substances in Table II. Morphine, codeine, oxycodone and fentanyl are opioid medications. Although the drugs are legal for medical use, they have a high potential for abuse.

Currently, cannabis is legal for medical purposes in 33 states and Washington DC. However, cannabis is not legal at the federal level in the United States. Several presidential candidates support the legalization of marijuana. Candidates include Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke. According to polls, more and more Americans are supporting the legalization of marijuana.

While opioids are controlled substances in Table II, marijuana is a controlled substance in Table I. Notably, controlled substances in Schedule 1 are not approved for medical use. They have a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana against opioids

Many people think that marijuana will help solve the opioid crisis. However, a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes would not reduce the number of opioid deaths. The study revisited a 2014 study. Keith Humphreys is the senior author of the Stanford study. "If you think that opening a group of dispensaries will reduce the number of deaths from opioids, you will be disappointed." . "

However, the authors of the Stanford study believe that marijuana for medical purposes has advantages. Research on the effectiveness of marijuana needs further investigation.

Is marijuana the next opioid?

In particular, there is a high risk of marijuana abuse, even in states where it is legal. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, "The FDA requires carefully conducted studies (clinical trials) on hundreds to thousands of human subjects to determine the benefits and risks of a drug. possible medication. Until now, researchers have not conducted enough large-scale clinical trials demonstrating that the benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh the benefits. risks it presents for the patients that it is supposed to treat. "

Scandals and violations

Some cannabis companies have already been reviewed by the FDA. In July, the FDA sent a warning letter to Curaleaf (CURLF). The company sold products containing CBD (Cannabidiol). However, the products have not been approved. Curaleaf marketed products containing unsubstantiated claims for the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, pain, anxiety in pets and other conditions. CBD is a chemical compound derived from marijuana.

CannTrust (CTST) has disappointed investors. According to Health Canada, CannTrust grew cannabis in unlicensed premises at its Ontario facility. CannTrust had to suspend its marijuana sales. On August 12, Health Canada discovered problems at another CannTrust facility.

On the whole, the violations raise doubts about the capacity of the cannabis industry to solve the medical problems related to marijuana.

Vaping issues

In addition, individuals can use marijuana products for vaping. The CDC is investigating diseases allegedly caused by vaping. For more information, read the CDC's Vaping Warning should worry cannabis players. Tilray (TLRY) expands its vaping portfolio into three subcategories: disposable vapes, interchangeable 510 threads and cartridges.

Aphria (APHA) collaborated with PAX Labs to provide cannabis vape products for the Pax ERA platform. Aphria expects vapes and their concentrates to account for 30% of the Canadian market for adult use by 2021.

Will the legalization of marijuana help?

A Gallup poll showed that most Americans support the legalization of marijuana because of medical benefits. Legalizing marijuana could help curb the illegal trade. As we mentioned above, marijuana can be addictive. CBD and THC are the two key components of marijuana. Notably, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. CBD does not give as strong a sensation as THC – the psychoactive compound of marijuana.

Currently, Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD drug to treat rare and serious forms of seizures. Given that we have no evidence or large-scale clinical trials to establish the medical uses of marijuana, it is important that state and federal regulators carefully control cannabis-producing companies. Regulators want to avoid another situation like the opioid crisis.

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