To be a successful politician or business executive these days, mastering the art of spin is a must. Consumers are more informed and have quick access to information, and the level of competition is so intense that straying into the gray area happens a lot. Cannabinoids for opiate withdrawal therapy have proven to be effective and that is terrible news for big pharmaceutical companies.
The opioid crisis statistics on how effective marijuana can be to wean addicts from opiates is becoming clearer every day. So, big pharmaceutical companies are putting a lot of money into fighting against the legalization of marijuana and their efforts were successful in Arizona.
Last year, a pharmaceutical company called Insys Therapeutics gave half a million dollars to the campaign to stop marijuana legalization in Arizona. The Phoenix-based company’s flagship product is a prescription opioid spray made from fentanyl, an incredibly addictive and deadly drug estimated to be 50 times stronger than heroin. Cannabis, Insys knew, could disrupt the $24 billion market for painkillers and cost them business. After all, cannabis is now being used to treat many of the problems for which opioids are prescribed: back pain, arthritis, basically any kind of chronic discomfort. And there are some pretty convincing reasons why someone in pain might choose cannabis over opioids: Opioids are physically addictive, and can kill you. Cannabis has never killed anyone, and the withdrawal is mostly psychological.
Insys’s cash injection seems to have worked – of the five states with adult-use cannabis legalization on the ballot in 2016, Arizona is the only place where it didn’t pass. This, of course, is the root of the opioid crisis: pharmaceutical companies care more about profit than they do about human health. These companies are powerful, and they have been funding the anti-pot lobby for a long time. Still, in the face of opposition from entrenched interests and the federal government, a growing chorus of experts is calling for us to look into the possibility that legal cannabis could replace opioids in many circumstances, saving hundreds of thousands of lives over the course of the next decade.
“We’re not just saying opioids make you feel good and so does cannabis, and now you’re addicted to cannabis. There are direct reasons why this could actually help people get off of opioids,” says Jeff Chen, director of UCLA’s new Cannabis Research Initiative. “If there is a chronic pain component, the cannabis can address the chronic pain component. We also find opioid addicts have a lot of neurological inflammation, which we believe is driving the addictive cycle. We see in preliminary studies that cannabinoids can reduce neurological inflammation, so cannabis could be directly addressing the inflammation in the brain that’s leading to opioid dependency.”
Between politicians who are indebted to the pharmaceutical industry and the constant deflecting from pharmaceutical executives that are financially thriving from the opioid crisis, consumers are simply confused, which is the purpose of spin. How long before the pharmaceutical industry is exposed for all of the money hungry business practices it employs?