People not involved in medical cannabis use are 21 times more likely to die from opioid overdose, and a staggering 84 percent more likely to die from liver failure after using cannabis than opioid use alone. The likelihood of a person’s death due to a “legal” cannabis overdose with “legal” prescription opioid overdose is 3 times the likelihood of their overdose due to a different legal marijuana use.
This does not mean I am endorsing both, only that neither can replace the other without severely diminishing harm. Many people die, and it’s not worth the chance to fail or die waiting for the other. Those who are involved in medical cannabis use, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or others responsible for educating patients, need to tell people that the potential for pain is still significant, but there is less of it if people use cannabis instead of opioids. And some people are using cannabis for many different reasons.
Most of the evidence on cannabis is anecdotal. It relies on patients, doctors, and others who have an interest in taking a position. The studies that are out there are not scientific, which is why my views and opinions are not objective, merely based on anecdotal experience, so I need you to use these as evidence in your own mind.
Some argue that a reduction in crime is better than no crime, but there are several sources of evidence showing that cannabis reduces the “bad guys” and harms the “good guys”. I already had a friend who had a felony record for possession of marijuana. A few years later he became a high functioning member of society (the definition of a “good guy”) who is currently employed and is married with kids. The problem I have with that narrative is that while his record may have been reduced, it’s not the same thing as a person who was already able to function and function in life without pain and suffering. The reason for that is I will discuss other topics later. I didn’t choose that person to be unemployed and without any of his privileges, and I think people who choose to be unemployed and without any of their privileges are far more in need of treatment than those who choose to be unemployed and with all of their possessions.
The real problem with the narrative is that “the bad guys” have no problem with cannabis use, whereas some of the “good guys” do. I think “the good guys” have too much shame to admit they use cannabis even though they don’t use heroin or cocaine, or “the bad guys” do admit to using more pot than they usually do but can’t help it. What is the right answer? I can only tell you what’s best for me or you, or what you want from me the only one who can do this for you is myself. There will be times when it’s more fun to take a pill than to take up the pipe. That’s my reality and if you want to accept those facts, then do it. But do not expect other people to accept you if you can’t or won’t change that fact. I have had it, and I have learned the hard way.
A lot of people who have an interest in this issue believe that cannabis should be legal and legal treatment for those who choose to use it for medical reasons. If you’re in that camp, I hope you read on. Before you do, you must at least try to keep your thoughts in that camp in balance, just like I try to do. If you are not in that camp yourself, please consider these things: I believe in evidence based medicine, and it doesn’t matter what my own personal experiences are. It doesn’t matter if I have one too many Xanax. If your medical needs include cannabis, it may be the only right choice for you. If you choose no treatment and instead take the path of most destruction in life, then I cannot and will not have any part in how you live your life, and you should not be forced to follow a course of treatment I may not agree with. That being said, I don’t have an obligation to defend any drug use that is not based upon need. At the same time, I don’t see the point in pretending to be someone I am not. There is no such thing as a “good enough” way to cope with life, and no such thing as being “too high” to live any life. I am neither an expert on any substance nor can anyone. The only thing I can do is to encourage a careful balancing of those two elements those who need cannabis and those who do not.
It’s also important to remember that I am not an expert medical doctor. I don’t sit by a table and read a book on the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal. Do you