OPIOID Epidemic and Medical Marijana crossroads:

I agree with President Trump that we have a pain killer emergency on our hands. My perspective on this is as a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Working in emergency rooms prescribing meds including narcotics/opioides for over a decade. And now adding the past 4+ year history of Doc Morrison as a MD performing medical evaluations, education & filling out forms regarding Medical Marijuana. 

I am living a Medical Marijuana & Opioid/Narcotic crossroad that our country is now in the early stages of figuring out. I had a patient last week tell me he had been cut off from his narcotics which he had been taking for 10 years without fail 3 times daily. This patient received no ween down of narcotics or really any advice or assistance was given to him about quitting narcotics which his body is depending on. I asked him when he took his last dose curious to see how his withdrawal had gone. “I took the last one just before leaving to come see you.”  Hmmm.  

Medical Marijuana can help people with chronic pain. 

Will our country look to make Medical Marijuana appear as part of the cause or as part of the solution of the Opioid Epidemic? 

I would like to pre-empt the response to this cause vs solution question with the concept of High-5-ability: If you quit drinking alcohol over the past year using Medical Marijuana? High-5. Quit a Narcotic or more over the past year using MMJ? High-5. Quit sleeping, anxiety, nausea, mood, psych medication using MMJ? High-5. I happily will High-5 anyone who does one of these things and strange as it may sound, these people love giving that High-5. I have been seeing a mind blowing number of people who are coming back yearly telling me the great things they are doing with the help of MMJ. 

Will people say that Marijuana leads to narcotics and thus Medical Marijuana be perceived a bad thing to society? That is not what I have found in my experience talking to people who have had issues with (aka addiction to) narcotics. I feel it can help quench the desires & habits that keep people using narcotics often long after they have lost their effectiveness as pain killers but with continued severe side effects including addiction & withdrawal with chronic use while quitting.

Or will people see this how I see it, that Medical Marijuana HELPS people quit narcotics & other meds. Let this be the season of Medical Marijuana & High-5s for everyone that finds MMJ has helped them put the zombifying narcotics in their rear view mirror. “You can never have too many High-5s” 

However we proceed as a Nation over the next months I think we have to remember that this is about Patients who’s lives are going to be changed. I believe no one ever starts a medication knowing they will become addicted to it. Their Doctors have been telling them that it is ok, so it seems ok to the patient. Then one day Medical Opinion changes public opinion and it is no longer ok. I agree with President Trump that we have created an Opioid Emergency.