Legal Marijuana and the Opioid Epidemic

Have you ever been prescribed opiates before like oxycontin, oxycodone, morphine, or even fentanyl? Anyone who has dealt with chronic pain, or has had surgery might receive an opioid based prescription by a doctor. Even if you haven’t taken such medication, most are aware of the prevalent opioid use that is sweeping the nation and rampant overdoses that are caused by this medication. These overdose numbers far outweigh the deaths of federally illegal cannabis plants and products. Cannabis has had zero deaths by consumption; the only side effect experienced is users dosing incorrectly and getting 'too high.' After many conducted studies, it has been determined that cannabis is one of the strongest allies against the opioid epidemic.

Opioids cause tens of thousands of overdoses each year. In 2017 alone, more than 72,000 people overdosed. That’s about 200 people dying per day! This means. “(opioid) overdoses in 2017 killed more people than guns, car crashes, or HIV/AIDS ever killed in a single year in the US.” Opioid deaths have skyrocketed in recent years and is now surpassing some of the top death causations. Cannabis on the other hand has a track record of 0 overdoses. It seems like a clear cut decision, does one choose a medication that has killed time and time again or a medication that has never killed a single person? Based on this testament alone cannabis is the safer choice.

Opioid users also have a large chance of becoming addicted, as the substances have many many side effects and users experience withdrawal symptoms from the opioids’ effect on human anatomy. This makes users build up their tolerance and a large percentage of those who overdosed were prescribed the medication for post-surgery or other ailments. Cannabis can be mildly physiologically addictive for some people and provides relief from post-surgery recovery or other ailments. Check out our ailment chart here! Cannabis continues to outweigh the faults of opioids.

The main reason cannabis is comparable to opioid is because they both affect pain receptors. Studies show what happens with the pain receptors in the brain when consuming opioids and cannabis separately. Scientist found they both block similar pain receptors, but the difference is overtime cannabis was shown to help heal the cause of the pain and inflammation, whereas the prescribed opioids did not. This is exactly what Big Pharma intended as a means for repeat customers.

For people concerned with what goes into their bodies, it is important to note that most abused opiates are man made or mostly synthetic, where as cannabis is a natural plant.

Unfortunately, much more research has yet to commence, since cannabis is still federally illegal. But, in states where the plant has been legal for quite some time, statistics and information has been collected to show a staggering drop in opioid use and overdoses with the introduction of legal Cannabis. In 2014, it was “found that states with medical marijuana laws had nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses.” This research was conducted four years ago, meaning since then that percentage must have increased!

If you are taking opiates and would like to try a healthier alternative, it might be time to consider cannabis. Make sure to talk with your doctor first, and learn about the safest ways to switch to this natural substance if it is legal in your state. Be sure to look into your source of cannabis to find chemical and pesticide free products. HERB does lab testing on all our products, so check out the menu now! You deserve to live happily and pain free!

Author Credits: Cynthia is from North Carolina, and one day while living in Los Angeles, happened to fall into the cannabis industry and has thrived there ever since.

Information references courtesy of NPR,, Scientific American, Vox, and

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