17 May 2016
A United States Congressional panel has decided that medical marijuana has no role to play in the federal government’s search for potential solutions to the nation’s prescription opioid painkiller crisis.
The House Rules Committee met last week to create a federal task force to investigate pain management and prescription best practices in the U.S., and scrapped two medical marijuana research amendments along the way, as reported by Marijuana.com.
The first amendment would have required a number of U.S. agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to study the ”potential for marijuana to serve as an alternative to opioids for pain management.”
The second amendment would have required the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC to compare and contrast the “medical application of marijuana and opioids for pain management,” including assessments of fatal opioid overdose rates in states with and without medical marijuana access.
Government data shows 46,471 people died from drug-related overdose in the U.S. in 2013. More people died from drug overdose than from firearm wounds (35,369) and car crashes (33,636) that year.
The overwhelming majority of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involve prescription opioid painkillers, which has led some to declare an “opioid painkiller crisis.”
Where does marijuana fit in?
Unlike most street drugs and many prescription drugs, marijuana has never been linked to overdose death. To repeat, zero people have died from marijuana-related overdose — this is true for every year on record.
Marijuana also shows promise as an alternative treatment to standard opioid painkillers for chronic pain patients.
Countless patient testimonies and small-medium sized research studies have shown medical marijuana to be a safe, moderately effective treatment for chronic pain.
Data shows states that legalize medical marijuana see statistically significant reductions in opioid-related overdose deaths, which has sparked growing calls for the federal government to increase research on marijuana’s potential role in the opioid crisis.
“Medical marijuana is a possible and likely way to reduce opioid prescription painkiller abuse for chronic pain,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) said during the House Committee Hearing last week. “And unfortunately it’s hardly been explored due to government policy, in large part because of the federal government’s monopoly on legal cultivation and studies.”
It appears the federal government is keen on keeping their marijuana monopoly, at least for the time being.
It’s also been picked up by High Times writer Mike Adams HERE who writes
While there is increasing evidence that medical marijuana could be a viable alternative to opioids in terms of pain management, a new report indicates that Congress is still not prepared to give the scientific community the green light to dig any deeper into this progressive concept.
Earlier last week, the U.S. House Rules Committee voted against two proposed amendments that would have required a special pain management task force to consider how weed might be used as an alternative or in conjunction with prescription painkillers.