Pain is the number one reason Americans seek medical care (NIH).
Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in America (NIH).
Cannabis is approved for treating chronic pain!
As of March 22nd, 2017, certified physicians can prescribe medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain in New York State.
🌿 This is huge 🌿
What's Chronic Pain?
As per the New York State Department of Health's definition, chronic pain is any pain lasting (or anticipated to last) at least three months, that impairs your quality of life.
Do you suffer from chronic pain?
Cannabis may alleviate your pain
Is It Safe?
Generally speaking, cannabis is very safe. However, you should always consult with your physician before initiating therapy with cannabis.
One way to assess safety of a substance is determining the amount needed to kill you. For alcohol, it's about 13 shots. For caffeine, it's over 100 cups of coffee. For marijuana, it's about 15,000 pounds of herb. Now that'd be a B L U N T. Essentially, it's near impossible to overdose on marijuana.
But how does cannabis compare to opioids, the most commonly prescribed medications for treatment of chronic pain?
Common prescription painkillers include:
THESE drugs are extremely dangerous
🍭 YET, they are prescribed like candy 🍭
consumer beware of addiction & Death!
Prescription opioids are an epidemic.
More Americans die from drug overdoses than from suicide, gunshots and motor vehicle accidents combined (Powell et al.). Prescription painkillers--ordered by a physician--kill more Americans annually than illicit opioids like heroin and cocaine (CDC).
Annual American Deaths Due To
Prescription opioids: 15,000
How can painkillers lead to death? Excessive consumption of opioids decreases your rate of breathing, which can ultimately lead you to stop breathing altogether and die.
Narcan [naloxone] is a medication that can restart breathing by disrupting opioids from their receptors. Back in 2006, New York passed a law allowing non-medical personnel such as police officers to administer Narcan in the field to prevent death due to opioid overdose.
Although effective in controlling acute pain, opiates are not designed for chronic pain. Yet, up until this point, opioids were the only class of pharmaceutical available to physicians for treatment of chronic pain.
Cannabis offers a safer option than opioids for treatment of chronic pain.
How Can You Consume Cannabis?
If you've ever consumed cannabis, you likely smoked dried herb in a pipe, bong or joint.
Cannabis cannot be smoked in New York State
Why? Smoking can harm your health. Fire induces combustion and produces smoke as a byproduct. Combustion frees unwanted compounds from the herb which could be carcinogenic. The high temperature of smoke can be caustic to the airway.
Vaping is the new smoking
Vaping also requires heating, although the temperature stays below the point of combustion. Vaporization is designed to release the medicinal compounds contained within essential oils, without mobilizing the tar associated with smoking. Essentially, vaping gets the good and leaves the bad.
New York State only permits ingestion of cannabis in one of three forms:
Oils/Tinctures placed under the tongue
Vapor inhaled into the lungs
Capsules that are swallowed
Want to learn more about the medicinal properties of cannabis?
CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. <http://wonder.cdc.gov>
Frostenson, Sarah. "The risk of a single 5-day opioid prescription, in one chart" 18 March 2017. <http://www.vox.com/2017/3/18/14954626/one-simple-way-to-curb-opioid-overuse-prescribe-them-for-3-days-or-less>
"New York State Department of Health Announces Latest Enhancements to Improve Patient Access to Medical Marijuana Program" 16 March 2017. <https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2017/2017-03-16_medical_marijuana_enhancements.htm>
"Pain Management" https://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=57
Powell, David et al. "Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addiction and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?" RAND Corporation. 2015. <http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1130.html>