Marijuana Legalization & the Opioid Epidemic

Marijuana Legalization & the Opioid Epidemic
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What happened in states after medical marijuana laws were passed? Did opioid overdoses go up, stay the same, or go down?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In the United States, millions of people “have been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder,” and “more than 80 [Americans] die each day from opioid overdose.” Where is this coming from? Well, most new heroin users start out on prescription drugs; prescription opioid painkillers. This is important, because more than “200 million opioid painkiller prescriptions are still written every year.” Did you catch that number? 200 million prescriptions every year in the United States—”a number closely approximating the entire adult population.” That’s incredible.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country,” said White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer, “the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people” to smoke cannabis. But if opioid addiction starts with people taking prescription pain pills, maybe cannabis would reduce the problem by offering a substitute painkiller. Or you could see it go the other way, where cannabis acts like as a “gateway” drug, or “stepping stone,” to harder drugs, and could make the opioid epidemic worse.

Well, first, does cannabis work? “Is it a truly effective drug for pain that [has been] arbitrarily stigmatized and criminalized by the federal government? Or is it without any medical [benefit at all, and] its advocates hiding behind a [smoke]screen”—pun intended—”of misplaced (or deliberately misleading) compassion for the ill?” The official position of the American Medical Association is that marijuana “has no scientifically proven, currently accepted medical use for preventing or treating any disease.” But, what does the science say?

Well, “despite the widespread use of opioids,” the majority of “advanced cancer patients [may] die with unmet pain-relief needs.” And so, adding cannabis may help, as double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials have found that cannabis compounds do produce pain relief, “equivalent to moderate doses of codeine,” an opioid used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. But wait; if you’re dying from cancer, don’t you want the good stuff? Why not just crank up the morphine?

Look, if you want, you can put someone in a coma, erase all their pain. But the problem with these high doses of opiates is that here you are, at the end of life, surrounded by loved ones, and you’re so gorked out you can’t even say goodbye. So, that’s where cannabis may help, allowing someone to drop the opiate dose down a bit without compromising pain control.

That’s what many report, anyway. If you look at New England, which is like ground zero for the opioid epidemic, “[t]here were enough opioids dispensed from Maine pharmacies in [one year] to supply every person in the state with a 16-day supply.” What are they doing up there?

But among New Englanders surveyed who were on opioids, most claim that “they reduced their [opioid] use since they started [medical cannabis].” Some also reduced their use of antidepressants, alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, migraine meds, and sleeping pills. 40% said they were able to reduce their opioid use “a lot.”

It may even reduce the use of crack! It may seem strange to give drugs to drug addicts, but if people even partially switch from more to less harmful drugs, overall harm may be reduced. So, what happened after medical marijuana laws were passed? Did opioid overdoses go up, stay the same, or go down?

They went down. “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower…opioid overdose mortality rates”—about a 25% lower rate of overdose deaths, the striking implication of which is that medical marijuana laws “may represent a promising approach for stemming” the opioid overdose epidemic. “If true, this finding upsets [not only] the applecart of conventional wisdom regarding the public health implications of marijuana legalization [but also of its] medicinal usefulness.” Here, the AMA is saying it doesn’t do anything helpful m­­edically, but if people are getting enough benefit to cut down on their prescriptions, then obviously something’s going on.

What about other prescription drugs? Once medical marijuana laws were passed, fewer people were filling prescriptions, for not just painkillers, but anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotics, anti-seizure drugs, and sleeping pills. If all states did that, then that could save around a half-billion dollars a year. But the half-billion taxpayers save is the half-billion drug companies lose. So, no wonder the drug companies are freaking out.

Why do you think “pharmaceutical corporations were major sponsors of the marijuana prohibition lobby,” trying to stop legalization—the makers of OxyContin, Vicodin. “Other major [funders] of the opposition included the beer industry…, and the private prison industry.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Just.in via flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In the United States, millions of people “have been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder,” and “more than 80 [Americans] die each day from opioid overdose.” Where is this coming from? Well, most new heroin users start out on prescription drugs; prescription opioid painkillers. This is important, because more than “200 million opioid painkiller prescriptions are still written every year.” Did you catch that number? 200 million prescriptions every year in the United States—”a number closely approximating the entire adult population.” That’s incredible.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country,” said White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer, “the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people” to smoke cannabis. But if opioid addiction starts with people taking prescription pain pills, maybe cannabis would reduce the problem by offering a substitute painkiller. Or you could see it go the other way, where cannabis acts like as a “gateway” drug, or “stepping stone,” to harder drugs, and could make the opioid epidemic worse.

Well, first, does cannabis work? “Is it a truly effective drug for pain that [has been] arbitrarily stigmatized and criminalized by the federal government? Or is it without any medical [benefit at all, and] its advocates hiding behind a [smoke]screen”—pun intended—”of misplaced (or deliberately misleading) compassion for the ill?” The official position of the American Medical Association is that marijuana “has no scientifically proven, currently accepted medical use for preventing or treating any disease.” But, what does the science say?

Well, “despite the widespread use of opioids,” the majority of “advanced cancer patients [may] die with unmet pain-relief needs.” And so, adding cannabis may help, as double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials have found that cannabis compounds do produce pain relief, “equivalent to moderate doses of codeine,” an opioid used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. But wait; if you’re dying from cancer, don’t you want the good stuff? Why not just crank up the morphine?

Look, if you want, you can put someone in a coma, erase all their pain. But the problem with these high doses of opiates is that here you are, at the end of life, surrounded by loved ones, and you’re so gorked out you can’t even say goodbye. So, that’s where cannabis may help, allowing someone to drop the opiate dose down a bit without compromising pain control.

That’s what many report, anyway. If you look at New England, which is like ground zero for the opioid epidemic, “[t]here were enough opioids dispensed from Maine pharmacies in [one year] to supply every person in the state with a 16-day supply.” What are they doing up there?

But among New Englanders surveyed who were on opioids, most claim that “they reduced their [opioid] use since they started [medical cannabis].” Some also reduced their use of antidepressants, alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, migraine meds, and sleeping pills. 40% said they were able to reduce their opioid use “a lot.”

It may even reduce the use of crack! It may seem strange to give drugs to drug addicts, but if people even partially switch from more to less harmful drugs, overall harm may be reduced. So, what happened after medical marijuana laws were passed? Did opioid overdoses go up, stay the same, or go down?

They went down. “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower…opioid overdose mortality rates”—about a 25% lower rate of overdose deaths, the striking implication of which is that medical marijuana laws “may represent a promising approach for stemming” the opioid overdose epidemic. “If true, this finding upsets [not only] the applecart of conventional wisdom regarding the public health implications of marijuana legalization [but also of its] medicinal usefulness.” Here, the AMA is saying it doesn’t do anything helpful m­­edically, but if people are getting enough benefit to cut down on their prescriptions, then obviously something’s going on.

What about other prescription drugs? Once medical marijuana laws were passed, fewer people were filling prescriptions, for not just painkillers, but anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotics, anti-seizure drugs, and sleeping pills. If all states did that, then that could save around a half-billion dollars a year. But the half-billion taxpayers save is the half-billion drug companies lose. So, no wonder the drug companies are freaking out.

Why do you think “pharmaceutical corporations were major sponsors of the marijuana prohibition lobby,” trying to stop legalization—the makers of OxyContin, Vicodin. “Other major [funders] of the opposition included the beer industry…, and the private prison industry.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Just.in via flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

I have a whole treasure chest of cannabis videos that are going to be dribbling every month or so until the end of 2019. If you want to see them all now, I put them all in a digital DVD.

You can catch my previous cannabis videos here:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

127 responses to “Marijuana Legalization & the Opioid Epidemic

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    1. Great to see your post also Mitch! Thanks for what you do to help remove the crazy stigma that surrounds cannabis. Maybe you can stick around and share a little more of that knowledge with Dr Greger? He could use more education on the subject!

    2. You don’t need THC to help manage chronic pain – You just need the CBD – cannabidiol portion of the plant. You can get cannabidiol from the hemp plant with little to no THC. Here is just one of many testimonials I have received – From Ordinary Vegan Community Member Mark: “A few months ago I ordered your CBD oil on a whim and to be honest, I didn’t really believe it could help me with my chronic pain. But since I started using the capsules, I am a new person. At first I cut back on my oopiods, but now I am almost opiod free for the first time in 10 years” – Dr. Greger I hope you do a video on this subject – studies are scarce just like they were about vegan diets and health when you started out, but the testimonials are incredible.

      1. I use CBD with THC to ease pain in my feet. Most current data seem to show that the CBD becomes more bioavailable with some THC. This is also my personal experience. I am currently using a 9 CBD : 1 THC product and it works well. Plus hemp is made for rope, not medicine, so it is more expensive and less effective. You have to work harder to get the CBD out of hemp.
        JOhn S

      2. Yes and no. The 20:1 CBD:THC seems to work the best. You don’t get high off that low a dose of THC but having just a little bit of THC makes CBD work better. Competition for receptor sites seems to be the mode of improvement.

    3. Boy, you hit the nail on the head here (as usual). I can’t for the life of me figure out why insurance companies and Medicare are not lobbying for the legalization of medical cannabis nationally which would save them millions over the cost of pain meds, not to mention the millions (and maybe billions) of all it cost them to pay for all of the side effects and conditions caused by “legal” drugs. Must be Big Pharma is paying them enough to not join the bandwagon.

  1. Time will tell… We will likely have to wait a couple of generations before the longer-term implications will be known, not just for medicinal marijuana use, but also for its logical correlate, recreational use.

    1. dr cobalt, why don’t we wait “a couple of generations” to learn about the longer-term implications of taking prescription opiods — or any of the drugs mentioned in the video? Or indeed, any drug? It hasn’t even taken one generation to learn about the devastation that the opioids are causing — just a few years. Of course, the lying by Purdue Pharma that their Oxycontin formulation was “not addictive” was criminal.

    2. This is non-sensical. The US doesn’t need to wait. Its need to open it’s eyes to studies and experiences outside of it’s greed controlled system. I believe that to trust the FDA, the AMA or any other vested interest group is just plain silly. Trust in the system ought to be as dead as corporate america’s heart. Has anyone said “Oh lets not let that drug company release it’s latest concoction. We will likely have to wait a couple of generations before we know enough about it”? Of course not. That is not the way to induce investment in their companies.

    3. The nature of science is that we will never have complete knowledge empirically, because studies keep coming in. We have a lot of data, and many people are dying of opioids. How many have to die before you’re satisfied that it relieves topical pain, addiction, and nausea?
      John S

    4. People have been using cannabis recreationally, pre-legalization, for decades and over multiple generations already. The safety profile, determined through both scientific study and anecdote, has been well established. It’s the additives that may be added to recreational-grade products that may tell a different story. So long as cannabis is kept pure, and medicinal/therapeutic grade (i.e. organic, to start), one can rest assured that the safety profile will remain broad.

      1. This is an interesting statement. Do you have any evidence to support it?

        The reason I ask is that I recall an Australian study that claimed that cannabis damaged DNA and that the damage affected subsequent generations (the same thing happens with alcohol and tobacco use of course).

        “Chromothripsis and epigenomics complete causality criteria for cannabis- and addiction-connected carcinogenicity, congenital toxicity and heritable genotoxicity”
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0027510716300574

        In fact, well before that paper was published, a Canadian study concluded in 1990 that:

        “Marijuana and its constitutive cannabinoids–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabidiol (CBD)–markedly affect mammalian cells. Cytogenetic studies have revealed that cannabinoids induce chromosome aberrations in both in vivo and in vitro studies. These aberrations include chromosomal breaks, deletions, translocations, errors in chromosomal segregation, and hypoploidy, and are due to the clastogenic action of cannabinoids or to cannabinoid-induced disruption of mitotic events or both. Conflicting reports of the cytogenetic effects of cannabinoids are partially explained by the different experimental protocols, cell types, and animals used by investigators. Cannabinoids also suppress macromolecular synthesis (DNA, RNA, and protein) as well as reduce the level of histone gene expression.”
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2174024

        This implies a possible adverse effect on subsequent generations.

        1. TG, this video is about opioids and pot as potential remedy to addiction.
          As you know multiple gene disruption occurs every day thousands of times each day.
          I find it curious that you fail to mention in the piece itself you cite, the abstract, states also this…
          “This information is also consistent with data showing acceleration of the aging process by drugs of addiction including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, stimulants and opioids. ”

          In the context of this discussion the very substances that are offered for contrary solution to pain management, opioids, have the same genetically negative effect.
          I have no objection to the challenge of pot being presented as a benign totally wonderful substance that provides only good to the human population.
          But to present pot as a overt gene disrupter far beyond the scope of other things we may encounter and at times some of us use or have exposure to and then to infer that this will present with a handed down to our children negative beyond that found by other common substances cited……is far from on the mark.

          There is also no evidence of actual observational study which shows children of pot smokers have any more problems with a …cited adverse effect upon subsequent generation….than any other groupings of peoples exposed to a myriad of things which may mutate genes some of which could in theory be translating down to children.

          I respect the validity of your challenge as pot is not a gift from god, but you are extending in your rebut into a overreach which connects two studies in a manner which draws a out of context conclusion..

          1. Ron

            Two things:

            1. in the third line of my post I wrote ‘(the same thing happens with alcohol and tobacco use of course)’

            2. I was responding to a claim by Rachel that marijuana was perfectly safe and demonstrated to be perfectly safe in respect of its potential effect on subsequent generations (ie ‘over generations’ as Rachel wrote)

            As for the ‘validity of my challenge’ and rebuttal, I was asking a question not challenging or rebutting. Citing works in the scientific literature that you don’t like isn’t overreaching to my mind, either. Nor do I have any problem with the conclusions of this video. I do doubt however that cannabis use is perfectly safe – even if it is orders of magnitude safer than opioids, booze and baccy – which is why I requested evidence for that statement.

            1. TG…you carefully omitted opioids from your comment on alcohol and Tobacco. AS the cited study in abstract clearly included that and this is the subject, generally, opioids as opposed to pot for pain relief, and mitigation of addiction, I think a objective comment would have that inclusion.

              Your phrasing of your comment as question is a common technique in debate for a rebuttal of claimed position. Does a question serve as rebuttal in and of itself in debate..yes it certainly does if it remains unanswered.

              I agree with your basic contention pot is not completely safe, no drugs to my knowledge are, even aspirin.
              Our body has as you know gene modification and restoration mechanism which prevents the passing down of modified by circumstance genetic mutation. These mechanisms efficiency are affected by things as remote as heat present in testicles and the amount a male exercises to mention but two.
              There have been thousands of studies on pot and if it was clearly evidential that it was producing inheritable gene mutation above and beyond that found in commonly used substances…do you honestly feel that would not present considering that by some data at least 40 percent of americans have used or do use pot, that would not present in the actual…realization with disabled dying or dead children and infants and/or most probably, sterile males whose seamen does not contain viable content? A Denmark study of drug use in recruits does point to a lowering of sperm count as is pointed out usually as substance in that regard. But the study is faulted as it is self reported and the medical analysis was concluded on the basis of recruits in a mandatory serve nation where a recruit may likely think that admission of drug use may enable one not a recruit…. a position they do not want to be in. Other studies in that regard that is the most popular quoted one…are really not worthy of being called science so many faults may be found in them.

              I happen to agree with your basic stance against non conventional medicine. But it appears you are overreaching that point and extending that belief into this issue, where it has relevance, as per a specific comment considering it as all natural and then completely good, but your contributory information is not substantial and misleading by content and conclusion.
              . .

          2. Ron

            I think your enthusiasm for pot is leading you to find offence/fault where none was intended.

            I know the video is about opioids. However, Rachel’s post was about the safety of marijuana. Which is what my post was about. There was no dastardly plot on my side to deliberately omit mention of opioids because, gee, I was thinking that if I didn’t mention opioids in my post nobody would even be aware of them

            You may not like the idea that pot causes genetic damage. Fine. Take it up with the authors of those articles in the scientific journals. Don’t take umbrage simply because I dared to mention peer reviewed journal articles you don’t like. Shooting the messenger may afford you some personal satisfaction but it doesn’t assist rational discussion of the issues.

            As for your other comments, there is in fact evidence that children of pot using mothers have lower birthweight than average. Whether this is a consequence of pot use or not I don’t know. This is why I asked for evidence about claims of genetic safety. Rachel seemed etremely confident that safety had been demonstrated.
            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423125052.htm

            There’s also some suggestion that pot use damages sperm which obviously could at least potentially affect children born to pot using fathers
            http://www.nbcnews.com/id/57802604/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/marijuana-use-may-lower-sperm-counts-quite-lot/#.VvWK7-IrKHs

            Of course, it is all relative. Opioids, booze and baccy are almost certainly much worse in this respect. However, pretending that pot has been demonstrated to be perfectly safe and getting upset when scientific evidence appearing to contradict such claims is posted,t ends to undermine the credibility of your otherwise sensible arguments.

            1. TG your own study that you just produced in media form says this…”The researchers found that the men who had smoked marijuana in the past three months were also more likely to smoke cigarettes, and consumed more alcohol and caffeine than those who had not.”

              Are you even reading what you are linking?
              We have already established that normally consumed matters such as cigarettes alcohol and caffeine cause gene disruption and this study did not omit them as controlled for study factors…rendering it worthless.

              You know science………… presenting obviously faulted science to support your point is showing bias which is on your side not mine.
              What is the point really in linking such nonsense and then to state I am supporting a view that I do not.

              I have consistently not denied genetic damage from pot. But I have added that we do have genetic repair mechanisms for our sperm and within our body which assist in the recovery…

              So there are no widespread abnormalities nor is there widespread death of sperm in any greater fashion than those commonly consumed substances. If ones total life is centered around having a child there are things one must do…exercise it probably the most important as per study and yes abstaining from cigarettes extremely hot places and things like hot tubs alcohol pot and a myriad of others.

              To single out pot in this fashion is not present a clear equal thing but a thing of bias.
              And I never hold the position pot has no damage and it totally without harm. Aspirin produces harm, but it is used by millions for good effect daily..does it cause in some slight manner genetic damage…..I would not bet against that.

              1. I am surprised actually you did not bring up the dane army study actually.

                The problem with that study is we already know exercise or lack of it leads to decreased sperm count in males of large percentages…..
                Well the study was based on a physical they did to recruits going into the military, a questionnaire,…..do you use drugs.

                From there they went on….
                Now of course asked in a physical on military entry one would think they are asking…of course they do not want druggies going into the military
                So that is reasonably thought, to get out of service I answer to the affirmative. It was a self reporting based study.

                Now who wants most to get out of military compulsory service…..a unfit person who does not exercise and cannot or does not want to go through military fitness level training and assessment.

                So who says they use drugs…….a unfit recruit. Rendering the entire study useless. But this is the type of science produced by the anti pot crowd like as not, full of holes.It is not that pot does not cause harm it is more that the harm is overstated in the zeal to keep it illegal.
                On open forums, did I see one challenge to the study…of course not. Peoples do see a white shirt attached to it they just accept it, human nature.

  2. Issue now is that people are smoking marijuana in public by using vaping technology, and lots of
    innocent children as well as adults are breathing in the second-hand vapor. And some of these vaping
    devices are completely odorless, so people in public would think “oh, that’s an electronic cigarette those
    people are smoking”, but the reality is that times are evolving, and the device may be filled with pot, as well
    as other other drugs. Yes, even opiates. Scary times now and ahead, what technology is offering us.

    1. why is this an “issue” now? How long have we been able to put a shot of whisky in our Starbucks and go watch the Space Needle spin?

    2. I’m sorry yolo, but you are misinformed and seem to be unaware of marijuana products. I am a Seattlite, marijuana connoisseur. I am a very skilled, successful professional.

      Vaporizers that puff out large clouds are not cannabis vaporizers. Those large thick clouds are liquid nicotine. Hash oil vape clouds are less thick… some might produce large puffs, but I honestly can’t imagine anyone taking in 2 of those and not being insanely high. That would be a major dose. That person would be coughing their ass off with that large of a pull— the heat would be high and the vapor would burn.

      Additionally, did you know that you can buy liquid nicotine at many corner stores? Did you know that orally injesting liquid nicotine can be lethal? How do you feel about big clouds of liquid nicotine being blasted in your face around town?

      Cannabis vapes are not an issue. You are twisting reality a bit with your opinions.

    3. Yo lo..it is a valid concern.
      But the reality of vaping is as to the determination of the states in which it occurs.
      States like New Mexico for instance prohibit vaping in any place in the same exact fashion as the smoking of cigarettes.
      Basically now it is prohibited in any places of a public setting.

      Private clubs with a membership status is the only place one is allowed that.
      Could one vape in a public street walking perhaps..yes. But keep in mind this is in the open air and if a local municipality cares to disallow that as well it is within their purview to do so.

      I don’t know of any that do but it could be done. Outside venues such as concerts yes it can and is prohibited. Identically to smoking cigarettes.

      It is generally under the scope of protection for employees. One cannot allow smoking of cigarettes and in a similar fashion vaping in any business as the business has the responsibility to protect the employee and provide a safe working environment. This provides the legal justification rational for prohibiting at a governmental level.

      Only the will of the government is required to cause this disallowance.

    4. I agree, yo lo. Someone else’s choice shouldn’t be consequently forced onto other parties surrounding them and who knows what people are putting in these things.

  3. I am Canadian. In October, our new laws will take effect. I grew up not taking any drugs other than aspirin and when needed, penicillin. After three accidents, all involving my back, at the age of 56 and still currently drug free, I welcome our new laws and look forward to being able to put on my own socks without wimpering.
    My 25 year old daughter, who was born with hip displasia and had suffered through issues her entire life, was issued a medical marijuana prescription. The amounts of THC and CBD are carefully used and monitored. She and I have talked extensively about it. When she uses the drugs, she is not high or impaired, is fully able to do her job and the only side effect seems to be that her pain goes away and her leg doesn’t “pop out of its place”. She also occasionally has apartment cleaning binges, of which I approve. This is not some caricature high, as imagined by Cheech and Chong, which is what older people seem to fear. This is pain relief, taken away from the coffers of major drug companies and gangs. Corporate america is unhappy with anything that removes their control, whether one is eating whole foods and eschewing food like products or finding less expensive and better methods for controlling pain and other issues.
    Whenever you hear the questions such as “how will we deal with this? think about alcohol. My kids grew up knowing where the wine rack was, knowing that there was other bottles left from christmas’s past and they never stole it to get drunk. If they had, we simply would have removed it from their reach. Post christmas would have involved pouring leftovers down the drain and only purchasing that would be used for that nights dinner party. It isn’t rocket science, people. As adults, my kids are neither total abstainers nor drunkards. They know that there is a time and a place for such things and rules surrounding them.
    In Canada, we don’t have Drunk Driving laws. We have impaired driving laws. Too little sleep, certain cold remedies, drugs and alcohol are all part of the impairment umbrella.

    1. Memory Amethyst, as my daughter was growing up, I offered to let her taste the beer or wine I drank occasionally, and to buy anything else she wanted to try. She did try one sip, I think, and found the taste repulsive. (We also discussed the effects of alcohol.) I kept up my offers till she left for college. She didn’t drink then (though her very drunk roommates had her very concerned about their safety), and she rarely drinks now at age 28. But now that I think about it, I wonder if the thought of drinking — really, tasting — with her mom was also repulsive? Whatever, it worked.

      1. Hey, J,

        LOL, That sounds much like what we did, except that we gave them each about a teaspoon of tequila in a pretty glass when they became teenagers. I wish we had thought to take pictures.We also had previously allowed them their choice of a few ounces of good red wine or a glass of Welches grape juice mixed with Ginger ale. They chose the juice and pop mix every time. It’s still on every festive table for non drinkers.

        While they can all nurse a bottle through a games night at their friends, they all have a take or leave it attitude.

        It’s not about the booze. It’s not about the drugs. It’s all about how they are taught about how to view and use these things.

        Cheers (with a cup of tea!)

        Memy

        If wisdoms’ ways you wisely seek, Five things observe with care.
        To whom you speak, Of Whom you speak, and How and When and Where.

  4. lol-as has been said many times before, follow the $$! there are no good reasons for a plant like cannabis to be illegal (or even magic mushrooms for that matter) and the laws in place are driven by those profiting greatly from making certain foliage illegal. yet another example of the reality of the corporatocracy in which we live and which is sold as democracy & freedom.

    for those who wish to hear the harsh truth rather than empty rhetoric, check out George Carlin’s 3 bit’s on voting, rights and the owners of this country on youtube.

  5. When my dad was in his early 90s he took a tumble. Off to the hospital he went due to pain and need to check for fractures. While there he was prescribed so much pain medication that, when they took him off, he went through an excruciating withdrawal not unlike old movies where the patient hallucinates and grabs the upper rails of their beds fighting and in anguish. He was fully and completely addicted within the one week stay. After approx 18 hours of the combative withdrawal he slept for a full day, physically exhausted by the ordeal. He lazily recovered, was discharged and went back to his happy life of playing cards with a best friend, exercise 5x a week and the care of his loving wife. Remembering his ordeal, I realize at least one challenge of people with addiction – withdrawal. Unless incredibly willing it’s hard to imagine that anyone would agree to the torturous withdrawal needed to become free and clean of zonk-out opiates. Especially when relief (of the withdrawal) is just a pill away. My vote is pot legalization and pronto. Seems it would be helpful going through both withdrawal and life with pain. Looks like science backs that up.

  6. I am one of many who has been saved from a painful death on opioids thanks to cannabis. After lower back surgery in early 2005 I was left with intractable pain and started down the opioid highway. Four years later that lead to another surgery, this time for diverticulitis. I almost didn’t survive the sepsis. I tried to return to work a few months later but was declared disabled after less than a month. The opioid spiral only got worse over the next couple years and my symptoms and one new diagnosis after another were piling up faster and faster and I was getting much worse despite every treatment known to medicine including every class of drug, and a spinal cord stimulator. That and the spinal steroid injections only made me worse.
    In late 2010 a dear friend brought me some cannabis and some medicated brownies. First to go was the fentanyl patch. Soon my doctor was freaking out about how fast I was dropping the medications but I wanted out of the nightmare. He wrote my cannabis recommendation, and still does, but he was learning what was possible from me, and he says he still is. Fortunately for me he’s open minded and he still helps me to find the correct essential oils and herbs in addition to cannabis that can help out with my SLE and CRPS. I’m still struggling with those 2 diseases and a few other minor autoimmune conditions like Reynauds, but I’m light years ahead of where I was 7 years ago. The opioids almost took me out a couple times before getting off them, and I’ve had a couple close calls with anaphylactic reactions, but I’m making steady progress and I feel like I’m once again in control of my health and my destiny. Thank you cannabis! I also have cannabis to thank for introducing me to a new holistic way of looking at everything in my life and that’s what lead me to a WFPB lifestyle and to all the great people associated with it, like Dr Greger.
    My experience has also opened my eyes to the sad state of our so called healthcare industry and many of the lies perpetrated by our government in conjunction with big business for the sake of profit. Our “healthcare “ industry kills more people in this country every year than were killed in all of our wars combined and no one goes to jail or is even held responsible in any way. Yet we’re still putting people in prison and taking kids from their parents over a plant. How long can this madness be sustained before our society collapses entirely?
    If you haven’t already seen it I would highly recommend the docuseries currently airing called “The Sacred Plant” Episode 2 of 7 is on now. They have a FB page and can be found via web search or on YouTube.
    Cannabis is not for everyone, just like any other herb or herbal supplement, but for many of us it’s a miracle. And it’s just a plant. A plant that can’t be patented and that’s why big pharma hates it so badly. It’s already been proven many times that isolated compounds from the plant don’t have nearly the same efficacy, just as processed foods are a weak shadow and sometimes a harmful reflection of the plant they were derived from. It’s called the entourage effect, and it applies to all of nature. We need to use what God has given us in its most perfect form, and that’s how He intended it to be.
    I’m still not back to work, and at 60 it’s unlikely I’ll ever be, but I’m far better than I was and still improving. The Lupus is proving to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated but it’s not going to win! At least now I can enjoy my 16 month old grandson, and he will get to know his Papa as he really is, and not some opioid addict just trying to survive.
    Don’t be afraid of cannabis, or other natural modalities, or let anyone tell you they don’t work. Pharmaceutical medications don’t work, they kill, and finally people are waking up to that fact.
    If you have a chronic disease find yourself a Naturopathic doctor and stay away from the MD’s and DO’s unless they have seen the light, and some have. You’ll be much happier and live longer!
    And please help spread the good word. We need to put so much pressure on the system that they have no choice but to change. It’s either that or we can ride this sick pig right into the ground.

    1. Sorry Teddy but I think that your claim “If you have a chronic disease find yourself a Naturopathic doctor and stay away from the MD’s and DO’s unless they have seen the light, and some have. You’ll be much happier and live longer!” is simply wrong.

      A good plant-based MD is what you want because you need somebody who practises evidence-based medicine if you are seeking the best outcome. The core principles of osteopathy and naturopathy don’t pay much attention to science or evidence. And speaking of the evidence what does it show about the results of choosing alternative care over conventional medical treatment?


      In a large study, patients with nonmetastatic breast, lung, or colorectal cancer who chose alternative therapies had substantially worse survival than patients who received conventional cancer treatments.

      After a median of 5 years, patients with breast or colorectal cancer were nearly five times as likely to die if they had used an alternative therapyExit Disclaimer as their initial treatment than if they had received conventional treatment.

      “Our findings highlight the importance of timely, proven medical care for cancer,” said Skyler Johnson, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine, who led the study. “There’s an increased risk of death with choosing alternative medicine, and that’s something patients should consider when making their treatment decisions.”’
      https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2017/alternative-medicine-cancer-survival

      If you value your life and your health, you are better advised to to stay away from NDs/DOs/DCs etc ….. and bad MDs.

      1. Thank you, Tom, for this. I like a good challenge to my thinking.

        My personal experience is with my parents. My father was treated for cancer he didn’t have and died at 92.5. We ordered an autopsy, and he showed no signs that he ever had prostate cancer or esophagus or bone cancer.

        My mother was treated for cancer that would not have killed her and died at 88.

        Both of their treatments caused terrible damage to them and their quality of life, but I’m sure they were included in this study as a good result of cancer treatments.

        Look, if we stopped getting cancer through good diet, wouldn’t a lot of people be out of a top paying job? Wouldn’t all these Cancer Centers and hospitals have to find some other good use for their institutions? It’s a billion dollar business!

        Any thoughts from you on this?

        Best wishes, Janine

        1. Janine

          Thanks.

          I would point out that in countries with national health systems (just about every advanced developed economy except the US), the governments have a huge financial incentive to reduce health care costs by eliminating unnecessary and counterproductive treatments. And the burden of cancer care costs is huge. However, even in those countries, they still provide conventional cancer treatment because it works better than ‘alternative’ treatments and is more cost-effective than not providing cancer care. The UK National health service for example spends a lot of time and effort on researching treatment options and pathways to ensure patients get the best treatment and the cost to the national treasury is minimised eg
          https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/cancer–general-and-other#in-development

          Does all this mean iconventional cancer care is perfect ? No. Does it mean that some conventional cancer specialists, hospitals and service providers don’t cynically exploit sick and dying patients to line their own pockets? No. But if you are going to bet your life on a cancer treatment decision, I’d trust the advice of a good plant-based MD on these matters rather than some woo-loving, low carb ND pushing all sorts of alternative treatments.

          If the cancer industry conspiracy narrative was actually true, you’d expect there to be no conventional cancer treatment centres in eg Cuba, Iran, North Korea etc. We don’t find that.

          Yes, if we stopped cancer through good diet as you put it, lots of well-paid doctors and facilities would be out of business – but every government of an advanced economy (other than the US) would be cock-a-hoop. So, would US HMOs for that matter. It’s not a massive Government-Industry-Medical Profession conspiracy. No, that’s simply ridiculous but are there vested financial interests at work? Yes, of course. Let’s be realistic though and not give blanket praise or blanket condemnation of conventional cancer treatment. But all the evidence, I’ve seen suggests it is better choice than the other options especially when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

          And even the US Government pushes a sound diet and other good lifestyle choices as an important strategy for cancer prevention just as they do for cardiovascular disease prevention.
          https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/patient-prevention-overview-pdq#section/_199
          It is simply untrue to claim otherwise. But if you make your money selling dodgy alternative ‘cures’, you have to make those sorts of claims to bring in the customers. After all, conventional treatment is your competition.

          I think it entirely wrong to suggest that conventional cancer treatment is 100% based on the profit motive while alternative health practitioners’ motives are as pure as the driven snow and that they have high level expertise in this area (much less high levels of success).

          I’d suggest reading the third expert report of the World Cancer Research Fund
          https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-prevention-recommendations

          Including the recommendations on what to do after a cancer diagnosis.
          https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/recommendations/during-after-cancer

    1. Well I think it’s safe to say that Big Pharma’s intentions are far from pure. Anything they do is about the best interest for them.

  7. Much has been learned despite the best efforts by the DEA to hinder research. The human body not only has opioid receptor sites, it also has natural endocannabinoid receptor sites. (endo = ‘within’) The human body makes and uses natural cannabinoids just as it makes and uses natural opioids (see endorphins). In the past decade we have also learned that much of the beneficial effect of cannabinoids is not in the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) but in one of many other cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol)…which is not psychoactive. It has taken off in the legal and medical cannabis industry and is usually even more expensive than cannabis used for recreational effects.

    1. THANK YOU DR G. I don’t always have the same conclusions, or always agree with you, but I can’t refute the science in your videos. That’s what really matters, after all. Thanks again for all your hard work. It’s making a difference in my families life. Amazing how we are so often given no facts, or perverted facts, by our government.

  8. I’d like for you to be on 60 Minutes, like your grandmother was, but explaining Marijuana Legalization & the Opioid Epidemic! Sixty Minutes just had a rerun about the opioid epidemic and now 24 States Attorney Generals are suing Purdue Pharma. Thank you for all you do!

  9. I don’t care if weed is legal or not (I’m in Nevada so it is). The big issue is the fact that there is no reliable test to see whether someone is driving under the influence. If that gets fixed, I would be 100% for it and even advocate, but the weed today isn’t like the stuff I grew up with. There are serious effects that can screw with your driving.

    1. i’d certainly rather be on the roads with mj drivers…than all the people on OPIOIDS. not that either is ok..but reality is these much more intoxicated people ARE behind the wheel….thinking of the numbers scares the heck out of me. but the mj side scares me as well…how many will have/cause a crash cuz they fell asleep at the wheel?!

      1. Corneredcat, it’s not about falling asleep, it slows your brain activity and that is not good for driving, needless to say.

        There’s other driving concerns, but the presence of other issues doesn’t resolve a particular issue.

    2. Even with reliable tests to see whether someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, we still have a lot of death, dismemberment, and destruction caused by drunk drivers. I think education is a far better solution. Because really: what are the chances of anyone getting caught? Before they cause a crash? And what happens if they are caught? A slap on the wrist? Punishment is rarely effective deterrence to criminal behavior (though incarcerating drunk drivers keeps them off the roads for a while.) And then there is all that OTHER dangerous distracted driving: texting, eating, shaving, applying makeup, etc…How do we stop that? By “reliable tests?”

      1. That’s pretty much a cop out and can be used for anything illegal. The point isn’t that we are going to stop all MJ car accidents, it’s that there is NO effective way to prevent even one. DUI checkpoints do catch people and there are ignition locks. Can’t do that for MJ. Opioids are another issue, but blood tests do verify and I know in Nevada, DUI is taken very serious. One lady high on prescription pills killed 4 people. She’s not getting out of prison from a minimum of 20 years.

        https://www.denverpost.com/2018/03/25/colorado-auto-deaths-marijuana-use/

        This was very predictable.

    3. Jon, it is a valid concern. States are trying through various means to combat this problem.
      In any event the statutes of law in most states require one to drive in a unimpaired state which includes under the influence of each and every substance which may affect driving. This also includes some medical situations such as uncontrolled seizure, for which a license.to drive may be denied.
      It makes it a bit harder for the arresting officer to defend the arrest in court as it is not as cut and dry as a blood test for alcohol. But arrests like this occur every day in the nation with the majority finding penalty upheld in court.
      Opioids serve as a example….depending on the use length impairment may not present on a absolute found level in blood. With continued use one develops a need to utilize increased dose to provide a pain remediating effect. In a similar fashion their impairment may be variable dependent on other factors.
      The arrest can be made under the purview of the officers determination of impaired status usually on the basis of a series of tests of a functional nature such as ability to walk a straight line and similar issues.
      After the fact of accident a test for presence of THC can and is done quite often. A reasonable ascertainment of impairment can be assessed dependent on amount found circulating.
      It is my guess within a bit of time tests will be refined to include absolute determinations of impairment by amounts thought by drug testing to have been ingested. To my knowledge this sort of science is now being endeavored in some of the fields of professional sports and drug testing. UFC being most prominent with USADA leading the consideration.
      Keep in mind this is a legal defense presently in some rare circumstances of alcohol consumption. If one has a impaired ability to metabolize alcohol due to some rare conditions such as liver malfunction, peoples can indeed consume alcohol far beyond the normal period of correlation between use and effect.
      The blood test will show positive but the person did not consume in a normal manner time wise to have this as a educated decision.
      So even with alcohol there can be auxiliary situations which will confound a officer or employers success in court.

      In any event the arrest is made on the basis of observational impairment. Blood tests may be refused and are and unless a field unit is on site (which is often not the case) one is arrested prior to the finding of any blood test.
      The court is then the place the specifics are hashed out.

      1. Good points.

        In Nevada, and I’m almost sure all states, we have implied consent. If you don’t give blood, your license is automatically revoked and you have to not only go to the criminal court, but also the DMV court (yes they have one, I had to testify at an accident I witnessed and the guy was drunk and ran away).

        As I said, I’m a libertarian in this regard. I don’t have a problem with pot (I can’t use it due to Federal job stuff), but I have friends that swear by it.

      2. To add dashcam or lapel video can serve independent of any blood test to provide as proof of impairment and thus legal basis for a arrest.

        The lack of a contributor to the observation a actual blood test proof does not disallow the validity of the arrest based upon observational data.
        Combining alcohol and other drugs for instance can provide impairment which will not show on a standard alcohol test. One can test below the legal limit but still be subject to arrest and find that sustained at a review in court dependent upon observational data.

        Point being… to a extent in this day of myriad prescription use it is a bit a problem law enforcement is already having to contend with.

        They see to it the person is arrested and kept off the road until such time as a court can fully asses the specific and provide remedy. Judgement of criminal penalty may or may not be a part of that remedy. The officer only arrests using their judgement as probable cause for the arrest. Tests substantiate cause but do not necessarily require penalty.

    4. Jon, I fully agree there needs to be laws and ways of detecting driving under the influence.

      More laws on texting and driving, too!

  10. Yes, the private prison industry and the drug companies are major opponents of marijuana legalization. There we have it, folks.

  11. Gotta love plant based medicine! What tickles me more than anything is “nature” winning against Big Pharma and the corporatocracy! That they were able to engineer a ban on growing of the ancient, amazingly versatile hemp plant just because it posed too much of a threat to the new synthetic fortunes of Dupont is so telling of how corrupt and connected industry is, and how duped we’ve been. https://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/12/05/how-hemp-became-illegal-the-marijuana-link/

    Thank you Dr G for always presenting the latest facts and keeping us informed, there is so much BS out there, it’s great to have a source you can trust! I get so infuriated when I hear the inevitable comment on your “vegan agenda”, when you yourself are just following evidence based science, and it’s their own cognitive dissonance that compels them to justify and defend their meathead agenda!

  12. My personal experience go along with this report. I resisted taking opiates for intense pain from shingles in the face.
    I finally caved in and took them for a couple of weeks when I realized the pain was not temporary. I went on our state’s medical marijuana program and was able to drop the opiates before any type of addiction set in.

    Sadly, I seem to have been left with long term nerve damage and continuing pain. About 6 mg of CBD plus 6 mg of TCH orally (in nut oil) allows me to tolerate the pain enough to sleep at night. In the daytime, just focusing on tasks and activities allows me to ignore the pain enough. The amount of THC is not enough to get any of the mental effects that recreational users seek.

    Nevertheless, I avoid daytime use for fear that my driving ability could be affected. I am not sure if the that fear is true, but recently I needed to drive in the middle of the night. I may have just been a bit sleepy, but I found that I needed to concentrate more than I would usually to follow detour directions around night time road construction. I turned of the radio to focus more. Perhaps the TCH was adding to the not enough sleep issues.

  13. Does Dr. Greger check this forum? I can’t find another way to contact him….Dr. Greger, if you see this, please please PLEASE do a video like this on kratom…a miracle plant that is facing the same demise as marijuana…people are using it to get off opioids and it is becoming illegal in many states and the govt. is trying to Schedule 1 it. A video like this on kratom could greatly help shift the public view…thank you!!

    1. Second that.
      A personal friend of mine has had a problem with back pain for years and years.And yes, he developed a addiction.
      Problem being as I see It, in his circle peoples did just not have much experience with addiction and with kratom as potential remedy.
      His doc his friends I think really just did not know of it.

      If it became known of widely I think it could provide a remedy for many. A miracle I would not call it, having been only lightly studied I would not absolutely call it harmless but it is way way better in any manner than addiction to these others.
      Some real definitive study of the science would provide potential great assist.

      My guess is it has less in the way of negative side effects than many of the prescription meds. A producer of a film on drug use in sports had his brother a pro wrestler die of drug overdose. He himself has started to use Kratom to remedy his addiction and become a strong advocate. Which to his credit has become a media/sports figure Joe Rogan as well’s position. Contact sports always produce injury with pain meds as remedy.
      Any older athlete in pro sports is exposed to pain meds and quite a few suffer as result.
      But how many know of this outside of these specific fields?

      A study by Dr Greger would provide a necessary gap filling. It absolutely needs to be done.

      1. To qualify a study of the available research by Dr Greger would be very very helpful even if the present science is light on the subject. Dr Greger is not in a position to perform scientific study on this substance himself.
        But a opening of the door to study through attention to the substance by publication would serve to assist in drawing attention to it, so we do not do as has happened with pot…throw the baby out with the bathwater and just summarily make it illegal which seems in the works.
        By my guess with a assist of the pharm industry.

        1. Kratom may be found to directly fill the role filled by big pharm with Bupnorephrine, a drug which has been on the market for decades here and in the EU but has had recent patented production with modification for injection and enhancement componant for use amongst those with opioid addiction.
          I anticipate it is a great revenue grabber and a competitor can simply not be allowed. So kratom continued legal use will be lobbied against in a political venue.
          With no low cost remedy available the patented drugs will be the only available drug of choice.

      2. Yes but what happens if he concludes that the evidence shows that kratom on balance is not worth the risk? Or that there is not enough evidence to reach a conclusion one way or the other. Will posters praise him then?

        I am not clear if people are asking for an honest scientific appraisal or if they just want their existing opinions confirmed by someone in a white coat.

        1. Well TG let me personally put your fears to rest..”I am not clear if people are asking for an honest scientific appraisal or if they just want their existing opinions confirmed by someone in a white coat.”

          People, yes I am one, do indeed want Dr Greger to review what there is of the science out there on Kratom to make a determination.
          I think the scientific study on kratom is scant but there probably does exist some .If there is absolutely none we need to know that as well.
          As this video attests, we simply cannot allow only government or pharma industry(they are often one and the same due to lobbying influence in the states) to make abject determinations in our favor.
          If we do so as with pot and it is declared illegal at a federal level, there will be the development of a underground supply chain and a disruption of pure supply as well as denial for those who may indeed benefit.

          We must simply be allowed the science and publication of the issue in a objective manner so we may make a informed decision of our own not allowing others who it is presumed to know better, but may have financial interest, to make our decisions for us.

          Dr Greger is well positioned to start the ball rolling and to publicize this as a objective issue for study.
          I would personally start with the notations against kratom use to see if they hold validity, as claims of harm are being made in some select places where it has been deemed illegal. . It is providing benefit there is no doubt about it. How negative are the negatives is the question which is always the question with each and every drug and prescribed medicine. Every drug pot included, has negatives. The opioids considered here have killed thousands, addiction and overdose exempted, simply by their effect upon liver function . Kratom will have negatives I safely predict. The question is how negative.
          AS its main use is probably commonly now for treatment of addiction on a self prescribed basis, it has relevance. And its use considering the problem of opioid addiction and relatedly heroin, is a major national American health issue.

          Who else can do this if not Dr Greger, the suppliers of kratom? The government who works for big pharma like as not…no. We need objective analysis.
          He provides the science and educated opinion and we informed, can then go on to make our determinations individually.
          The determinations may be ours personally the science will be what it is.

          Washing ones mouth out with this or that oil, cabbage leaves application are important and no offense to Dr Greger for studying that and like issues. But opioid/heroin addiction and consequent death by overdose is the second if not first killer of adult males in the states in some age groups. It is absolutely essential all remedies be examined for potential use.
          And kratom is a herb taken by mouth which is within a nutritional profile for study.

          1. The only caution I would add for Dr Greger if he does choose this as topic. Is to do the research with great concern for detail. This is a hot button topic and interest is present on both sides. A bit more than one may find in perhaps a topic such as oil pulling.
            We all are human and thus imperfect. Even Dr Greger has changed positions at times due to additional information becoming available.
            To state even if there is no science there is likely observational data and a historical usage pattern. Asia has had use for many years.
            Publication will serve to get this item out from under the dark recesses of congressional and state house, smoke filled back rooms, and out into the open where it belongs.

            1. Ron

              I’m glad to hear your reassurance on this point (although you seemed to be backtracking slightly in your second post?)

              I’m also aware that kava has been used since time immemorial by Pacific peoples but it still carries certain risks. Is kratom the same? There have been a number of deaths reportedly due to kratom use for example (although only a fraction of the number of reported deaths due to opioid use)

              And are we talking about kratom as a prescription medication, an OTC medication or as a recreational drug like tobacco and alcohol?

              I’m inclined to think that objections to its use largely come from drug companies that see it as a threat to their highly profitable patent drugs but that doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t ask difficult questions.

              Perhaps drug companies won’t hear a good word said about kratom (or marijuana). But I also get the impression that some people here won’t hear a bad word said against kratom (or marijuana) either. I think that both those positions are wrong.

              1. I agree completely with your concluding statement TG. As to backtracking I think you are combing my statement in favor of medical marijuana and the legalization of recreational marijuana with a belief in natural treatments. I never really hold that position. Though I do believe in the addition of some supplements I do not venture far beyond that.

                The deaths with kratom I honestly have not reviewed them but have heard of a couple. I think it may affect liver function. I do not think it approaches the level of hazard of Kava which is a known toxin at high dose but would not say absolutely not as I do not know of study. Some of the over the counter stuff sold in stores is absolutely lethal toxic in high dose and productive of things such as liver cancer.
                One called hot orange or something to that effect, to loose weight, several years back did actually kill quite a few almost immediately after injestion, before being withdrawn. A totally natural herb. Ephedra probably is the most common example however.

                As to legal use kratom already is in common legal use with only a few states exempting that. If science supports restriction of course that may be mandated. Virtually every smoke shop in every city and small town in America in legal states sells it as well as on line.

                A couple of deaths does not speak of a significant problem but the science may make that determination and the effects of expected long term use result.
                With pot the demonization usually takes the form of death cause disability cause accident cause…in combination with other drugs known medical conditions and alcohol.

                I would approach a study of kratom with that in mind, it may be manipulatable data that produces untoward conclusion. The drug industry does not want kratom or pot legal that is without doubt.
                Legislation just yesterday being passed in the house provides the expansion of one pharm drug to counter addiction based on what is probably light evidence. That is the pharma industry solution to this problem.

                1. To support my view I will add there are many psychotropic herbs available in any smoke shop in the US that are much more potent and probably I surmise have very many more long term detrimental effects upon health than kratom.

                  These are things that in uncontrolled venues, like LSD use, will absolutely kill you or render you mentally unstable unsupervised. But no effort in ongoing in America to disallow those substance in any manner nor form…
                  The why to that is specifically as Kratom competes directly with big pharma drugs. The others do not by my read.
                  So it is in America with corporate control of the politic through lobbying influence and donation to campaign.

                  So I say publicize it examine it and let the science decide. Then base legislation on that. In a underground fashion it is widely used usually to combat addiction but also as a mood enhancement item similar to coffee.
                  My guess is it will turn out to be like coffee, but honestly it is just a guess. Peoples die of excess coffee ingestion in the form of presentation as caffine intoxication yearly as well. To much will kill. And it came close to being called a carcinogen with label in California.
                  But we will see. I am just guessing.

                  1. Well, that was my thought as well – just as many people may die from coffee/caffeine intoxication as from kratom intoxication. There is some suggestion also that high coffee consumption itself may significantly raise mortality risk
                    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/15/coffee-drinkers-risk-death-rate

                    The information about kratom deaths came from an FDA release (the link is in this statement)
                    https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm595622.htm

                    I didn’t find it terribly convincing especially given the first death reported was of a known heroin user. And overdose deaths from aspirin and paracetamol use are apparently higher.

                    Nevertheless, I think it would be useful to do a warts-and-all assessment of kratom’s effectiveness and safety.

                  1. Yes it is in reference to salmonella content.

                    It is justifiable the publicity on that specific but I contend our media is also biased by editorial control.
                    The most common constantly present source of salmonella exposure…eggs always.
                    Little published that fact.
                    Birds seem to be a natural source for contamination for salmonella though I have not studied the mechanism behind that.
                    To include I have no personal nor financial interest in kratom. Like pot I just think this thing should be studied prior to illegality weighing the pros and cons.

                    .

                    1. Real good link however YR…from Microsoft no less.
                      Not some sketchy feel good natural organic web site ;)
                      Pretty much covers it as far as I know seemingly objectively.
                      Guess Bill G has no iron in this fire.

                      A good initial in a real review of the science and use patterns which could follow.

                    2. Thinking about it Bill through his foundation is approaching the idea of combating disease through a extension of the GMO technology his foundation is working on.
                      This came up 2 years ago as a response to the spread of a particular disease in South America. Modified genes in mosquitoes would make the disease not transmitable to humans, I think by rendering the mosquitoes unable to reproduce. It was a particular subspecie of mosquito which was the only type that could spread the disease.

                      Bill then would be opposing the standard pharma response to disease with drug and/or inoculation, (all patentable) by utilization of this technology.
                      This then presupposes a natural adversarial position to big pharm…they would want none of that.Would they react kindly to his intrusion into what they consider their game…I say not.

                      So in response Bill G would then as well respond by allowing a Microsoft outlet of publicity to strike at big pharma through publication. And would also by my guess then sponsor research into kratom, as it strikes at them as well.

                      Funny to think in our world of corporate interest and control of all media…. our information, with the exception of alternative sites such as Dr Gregers on things, may be commonly as a result of competing corporate interests.
                      Or he is perhaps really altruistic and wants the greater good.

                      In any event a search of sponsored research on kratom by the Gates foundation would be proof of adversarial position by my read.
                      A successful kratom defense for opioid and morphine addiction would make a significant loss of potential profit to the industry considering the present legislation passed by the house just last week. ;)

                      The proof would be in the tell of his foundation study grants…are they providing grant to those who are conducting or intend to conduct study of kratom…..if they are the proof is in the pudding.
                      Thanks for the link YR

                    3. ron, here’s the Food Safety link. When I was a kid I used to hallucinate from the cough medicine Robitussin, so I doubt if I’d ever try this. Don’t do well with drugs, etc. other than a half aspirin, occasionally. Anything else sorta scares me. :-) As I’ve said before, if I’m in misery while on my death bed (godforbid), I wouldn’t hesitate to be a pothead.

                      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/05/dragon-brand-kratom-recalled-salmonella-illness-reported/#.Wy_wpYonaic

                    4. YR the information is not widely known nor publicized in mass media but it is generally assumed that salmonella poisioning from eggs only account for about 130,000 per year of infections in the US.

                      One in every 3500 eggs harbors the bacteria.
                      Agree with you on pot and kratom there are negatives and without a real reason why, such as addiction, there is no reason for those things to be taken.

                      But to prohibit others informed adults use, without significant negatives which society ends up paying for to the hilt(like with tobacco) is not in my personal operational philosophy.

                      Pain is pain and things like kratom and pot until proven otherwise seem to be lower in negative side effects for treatment than opioids. We know what opioids can and do result in…. addiction and mass death from overdose. The proven other wise is uncertain with Kratom as we really just do not know. But to first prohibit without study a substance that many benefit from and has historical use, seems unwise.

                      When found a negative of this sort of course prohibitance or regulated prescription only use makes absolute sense.

                      A commonly used for cause remedy is not like a new drug a pharm company may endeavor. I would guess at the very least hundreds of thousands use this yearly already. None are approving it or recommending it but disallowance by no proven harm but on the basis of a prescribed drug standard just does not apply.

                      I surmise with kratom if the pharm industry found a significant negative they would instantly publish it widely in all mass American media. Each and every death from salmonella will of course be added in media to likely cause of death not from salmonella but kratom.

                      As the egg industry by my take also has a say in the lack of knowledge of the connection between eggs and salmonella. 130 k illnesses per year by one cause is simply not just happening. The media on it is simply not there for common education.
                      Yes it may be found but it takes a effort.
                      Kratom salmonella…I have heard it in mass media multiple times. It should be and is.But why not attention to 400 or so infections daily by eggs…seems that is lightly reported if ever. Not exposures but actual infections.
                      We hear of salmonella and this veggie and that..how many actual proportional amounts of actual infections are present as a result of egg meat chicken pork and like consumption….like lack of education on cause of heart diseae…these things in mass media are not just happening.

        2. Agreed, Tom. And is evident in some of the comments. Praise where Dr. Greger speaks on benefits or lack of negatives of marijuana, and then anger when he speaks on the evidence of any negatives, often by the same posters.

            1. Keep in mind Tom as George Carlin used to say…being paranoid does not mean there are not real peoples actually out to get you. :)

  14. How naive, you want me to believe Pharma hasn’t figured out they can make all that money they never had access to before?? Guess who will grow all the legal pot in Canada soon? And where will you buy your joints? …..at Shopper’s Drugmart (Canada’s CVS), grown in a massive underground operations funded by the same people that make every other drug that’s legal. You know this will be no different than what happened with the supplement industry but in this case they’ll make a fortune off what was originally illegal money some stoner was making! Sean Spicer? Haha, they’re smarter than you, me and everyone else including the entire GOP!

    1. True to a extend. It does depend upon how the legalization laws are crafted. If it is desired to keep big money out of this industry it is easily done. Retention of pot as illegal in the states, at the federal level, serves this purpose. As illegal it cannot have transactions of money and proxy for money in banks and those interests that operate under federal purview. As such in Colorado it is a money only industry which completely disfavors the big corporate interests. Could a big pharma interest buy out some local companies producing pot in Colorado…no. The mechanism of ownership and stock offering requires a bank centered form of accounting. Without that they could not operate and provide full discloseur and serve to preform a requited audit.

      So it can be done, the question is do the states and Canada have that will. I guess mostly they will not, but again it is a decision not a necessity.
      It is really not a question of smarts. Legislation for legalization can be specific in home grown companies of a state only sponsorship can be required.
      As interstate commerce in this is not a necessity(enough can be grown in each state to fill the need, pot is easily grown), federal open trade laws do not serve as a mandate.

      And keep in mind the societal benefit of this remains great not only in the combating of opioids but in the amount of monies governments can now access which prior were denied due to illegal status. Taxes can provide great things if governments care to use them in beneficial manners.

    1. And welcome to the dark side..;)

      Do not worry you will not be alone…seems all of Canada has joined us as well..

      Dr Greger and Canada…. could the dark sides future be any brighter. WE all now have to wear sunglasses around here.

  15. Would medical marijuana oil be helpf in treating resistant Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). I am under the belief that it has antibacterial properties

    1. I don’t know of published good research in humans of treatment for problems caused by H pylori. There is some research showing a potential of benefit for animals in study. MM tends to lower stomach acid but that alone would not combat a infection that is symptomatic. It may tend to help with associated problems such as nausea and vomiting tendency but that in itself would not cure the problem.

      So, just another blogger here expressing opinion but my take is no..until further research shows proven human benefit in this specific.
      There is some study to suggest that other agents of a natural kind such as turmeric may have a more direct benefit. Improvement of diet and attention to known precipitating dietary factors such as alcohol consumption use of anti-inflamitories and smoking of tobacco may have more of a effect to my personal opinion.
      A improved diet would be a whole food plant based diet which has shown in study to benefit the presence and predominance of good bacteria in the GI system.
      Conditions such as those produced by this bacteria may be life threatening in their worst case scenario and any treatment should be concurrent with the expressed opinion and under the direction of a medical specialist if symptomatic to a large extend.
      In a minor fashion problems which present may be largly alievated by attention to diet and lifestyle for many. The introduction of a relatively benign substance such as turmeric with and after the consult of a personal physiican may be a rational choice rather than MM.

    1. Legalization of recreational use vs. medicinal are two separate issues for various reasons. It’s a no brainer that cancer patients should be able to use it over morphine and other drugs and a much safer alternative pain killer for other illnesses and injuries as well.

        1. No worries. It was posted in the proper place as my comment was about recreational-use Big Dope. And you are right about medicinal use… I should have made that distinction in my original post.

          It’s just that I think it is possible to tease out the pain-killing parts of the plant without including the high. On the other hand if someone is told they are terminal, they should be allowed the high that goes with the pain treatment.

          For me personally, I don’t think I would accept “terminal” as a diagnosis. It might actually be terminal, but it wouldn’t be a self-fulfilling diagnosis.

          Just hoping through prevention I can delay such an outcome for decades. Scheduled for a stem cell treatment toward that end.

          1. Prevention is our best bet. I wouldn’t accept a terminal diagnosis either… I’d probably take it as a challenge to prove them wrong lol. Not that I’m making light out of illness, the suffering is horrific.

    1. Pot, THC containing pot, can be edible.
      But John, in a post above, states his personal observation, coupled with some science, suggests CBD effects may be potentiated by a minor inclusion of THC.

      In any regard in todays market smoking of pot is not required for medical nor recreational purpose.

  16. After reading “opioid epidemic” in the title, I was excited that you were bringing the issue up in a video but was dissapointed that the root issue of over prescription of opioid pain killers by doctors wasn’t addressed as well as getting into more detail about just how addictive they are. I think at this point, almost everyone knows people who are or have been addicted to prescription pain killers and/or those who died as a result. I could make a list of people and know 2 who died over it.

    1. To couple with this comment I will include this only as a personal observation.

      Honestly I did not watch the entire series but did watch a part of it to include the last of it.
      PBS did a series on the opioid/heroin crisis.The lead desk person at the conclusion of it stated to the effect…we have to do all we can to keep kids from taking these things…a rehash of a earlier time when heroin was all about illegal activity and source. And it was true that as a kid one was introduced into this.

      But now no…. it is all about people being lead into heroin as a consequence of prescribed opioids.
      Judging by that comment I concluded a lot of people in media just do not still have a clue on this.

      The desk person providing comment was probably not really seeing the report for what it was, but throwing in a thing of a earlier day and age attached to it.
      Living in the past but with a media advantage that can provide damage to combating the problem. Which was my personal conclusion.
      Luckily quite a few of the state AG’s are a bit more up to speed.

    2. “After reading “opioid epidemic” in the title, I was excited that you were bringing the issue up in a video but was dissapointed that the root issue of over prescription of opioid pain killers by doctors wasn’t addressed as well as getting into more detail about just how addictive they are. I think at this point, almost everyone knows people who are or have been addicted to prescription pain killers and/or those who died as a result. I could make a list of people and know 2 who died over it.”

      This ^

      1. Lonie, I was hoping the video would delve a little more into that subject as well. I know families that have been torn apart because of opioid addiction.

        When my mother fell & broke her shoulder 2 years ago, the EMTs wanted to give her fentanyl. I asked the EMT what else he could give her, & he said that was all he had. I was shocked that an EMT would be going around with fentanyl at all, let alone giving it out for a broken bone. A couple of months ago, she fell again & broke her other shoulder. This time the EMTs didn’t have it. When I asked them about it, they said they didn’t have it anymore. So I think things are changing.

        1. Sorry to hear about the injuries to your mom Nancy.

          Many EMT’s will provide no pain drugs whatsoever as a matter of policy. Typically the EMT is the first responder and field procedure has the care being handed over to a paramedic which has the allowance of transmission of controlled substances.
          A EMT may be qualified to provide singular treatments in starting IV’s and blood draws(with speciality training), blood sugar level testing., but it is relatively uncommon to have them administer controlled substances. Usually that is relegated to the paramedic. Narcan a antagonistic to morphine type heroine overdoses may be administered by IM. Another exception may be in response to diabetic emergency insulin shock with IV glucose or by mouth as remedy. And of course field administration for allergic reaction. Generally the EMT is very limited as to scope of administration. Typically the rest is left with the paramedic.

          In paramedicine it has been the practice to administer morphine IV for injuries such as your mothers exempting confounding issues such as potential head injuries or decreased LOC.
          Some municipalities may have a problem with strict accountability of controlled substances, each person on each unit must sign off to another the possession of the drug. At all times someone is held accountable for the drugs.
          I anticipate that is still the case though I am not current. Anything by mouth with the exception of sugar in treatment of insulin shock(in a conscious alert patient) is frowned upon in emergency field medicine. A trauma patient may devolve in LOC and administration by mouth may present breathing and airway problems. There also is a less than immediate effect by mouth administration.

          Morphine administrated by IV is usually titrated for effect starting out with a 2 mg dose and adding as required for pain. Though that may be lower in dose initially due to age and/or size.
          Local protocal does vary from place to place but that is probably by my guess still what amounts to standard care in emergency field services.
          I also find that unusual.
          Medical practices do vary under special select constraints such as anticipated very long transit times and/or a lack of qualified personal in rural areas but in general it is safe to say that is unusual.

          1. I am not stating in any manner it is connected to your experience but it may be handy for future reference.

            Addicts do present in all field to include paramedicine though they are extremely rare in that field. If a paramedic is a addict the way to game the system is to administer say 2mg’s of morphine or more and to overstate on report the amount administered. The syringe vials will they have corresponding amounts of excess put into another vial. The original morphine vial itself is then given to the ER doc concurrent with the field report which will attest to the amount administered.
            If one is that sort of person morphine may be overadministered to those who do not really need it to provide for this opportunity. Initiating morphine when the pain is not that great.
            Though trauma such as a broken shoulder would normally be a prime candidate for morphine administration. Assuming no head injury or decreased LOC of any kind. Often a fall involves that, and they typically hit their head as well as break a bone.

            Then it is normally contraindicated excepting in cases of extreme pain which proves in a sense normal LOC..Without significant pain and a broken bone and one would assume decreased LOC.

            If one wants to be sure of no administration a claim of allergic response to morphine may be stated. Or a simple denial.

          2. Ron in NM, I wouldn’t have minded so much if they had given her a little morphine. It was the fentanyl that shocked me. That is only supposed to be prescribed for people with terminal disease, not a broken bone.

            1. Yes very unusual to say the least.
              It is probably way past the fact but the way to do a thing about it is to contact the medical director and ask about it, they usually operate under the functional umbrella of a local hospital’s doc.

              If their answer does not make sense then a written complaint asking for a review is called for. They all have to have official formal reviews before medical boards of status usually internal peoples within the hospital with qualification. It may just be one doc is writing bad protocals or it could be a emt or paramedic doing a wrong thing.

              Very unusual by my read.

  17. A few days ago I wore my green “Grass Fed” T-shirt to an Indian restaurant (buffet night). Saw a female doc I went to, years ago. I asked if she was vegetarian and she said no. When she admired my shirt, I told her people might think the grass refers to “weed.” She then said she would approve. Huh?

    I’ve never tried the stuff myself. When I was 16 I took one puff on a ciggie and that was all I needed to know I’d never take another.

  18. To add the house has just passed a bill to combat the opioid epidemic with a very large majority. A key component of this legislation is the increased use of a drug which can combat addiction to opioids based upon apparently these two studies..
    ” The safety and efficacy of Sublocade were evaluated in two clinical studies (one randomized controlled clinical trial and one open-label clinical trial) of 848 adults with a diagnosis of moderate-to-severe OUD who began treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual film (absorbed under the tongue). Once the dose was determined stable, patients were given Sublocade by injection. A response to MAT was measured by urine drug screening and self-reporting of illicit opioid use during the six-month treatment period. Results indicated that Sublocade-treated patients had more weeks without positive urine tests or self-reports of opioid use, and a higher proportion of patients had no evidence of illicit opioid use throughout the treatment period, compared to the placebo group.”

    Which without looking at the studies themselves seems to me to speak of some improvement with this drug Bupnorephrine but not a resounding recommendation.

    This drug in other form is indeed used by those who will to get high. .And indeed this will provide some more much needed revenue for our close to destitute pharm industry..;)
    Prescribing one drug to cause a problem of addiction and marketing another to combat it…..win win all the way around. ;( to my opinion.
    For big pharma.

    Other components of the bill would seem to help providing assistance and care for addicts however.

    1. To add this is a considered scheduled drug with limitations due to its morphine derivative.
      Docs were previously allowed 247(I think) prescriptions per doc. concurrent with a special training component for docs 6 hours(I think), as per guidelines of the prior presidential administration.
      This legislation will greatly expand the ability of it to be prescribed to now include PA’s and others making it widely available.

      1. To add this drug may fill a need provided in part by kratom. I specify may, as kratom has not been fully studied. But a move is afoot politically to declare kratom a schedule one drug making it totally illegal when now in most states it is, and very affordable with very limited observational known of side effects.
        A low cost available drug legally purchased over the counter can simply not be allowed when a high cost patentable drug is available. To my personal opinion. As per big pharma.

        MM may not be the only remedy for opioid addiction seemingly. Fifteen dollars or so probably buys about a weeks supply. Like with MM its side effects seem very limited. But more study is needed to provide definitive conclusion.

  19. More people need to be aware of low dose naltrexone. It has benefited many people with a lot of diseases. Cancer, MS, and many other autoimmune diseases to name a few. Using marijuana and LDN together can work wonders.

    1. Pretty sure it is.
      A FDA advisory panel recommended for its withdrawal several years back. It was changed from a schedule 3 to schedule 2 drug a bit after that.

      The FDA required certain precaution statements and a constraint on the acetaminophen content.
      It is in disfavor and replaced with Norco, I am not absolutely certain but it appears able to be purchased with prescription.
      The acetaminophen content had very many serious side effects usually involving the liver in long term use.

      1. To add the changing of the schedule of a drug may make it very much harder to prescribe and the FDA may require special limitations on amount and frequency as a result in prescriptions but still allow its order under constraints.A schedule one is generally federally a no go…deemed of no value of any sort with great hazard in use…which they consider pot to be.
        Vicodin even not considering the potential of addiction has killed many thousands and disabled many thousands more over the years of its use.
        Pot as a singular substance even in abuse situations we would be hard pressed to find even one death as result. Though disability can be a proven. A increased tendency to certain psychiatric disorders seemingly presenting with significant use patterns in susceptible individuals at a young age, being most commonly stated..

  20. Dr Greger got this one wrong. Marijuana severely reduces ones pain tolerance so it has no benefit for people with true pain. It’s only an alternative for people who want a mind altering depressive medication. When marijuana patients have true pain, they require markedly higher pain MED doses. Greger likes marijuana because he likes plants.

    1. Please provide some auxiliary information preferably of a published sort which supports this contention…

      “When marijuana patients have true pain, they require markedly higher pain MED doses”

    2. Frank, you sound ridiculous with your last statement, lol. Do have any reputable sources you can share that back up your claims? Always useful when you’re making such a statement.
      Also, check out Dr. Greger’s other videos on marijuana, he talks about the negative impacts the evidence has shown as well.

  21. l’ve heard the next book will be on mental health. Hoping you will include addiction recovery. Meeeeanwhile… could anyone help me out? l am addicted to opiods, currently on day 26 of purposeful withdrawal from pills. l am seriously depressed – EVERY DAY. l don’t know how much longer l can hold out with this unremitting terrible mood and complete lack of energy. l am trying to incorporate the daily dozen. Some days l get about half the food stuffs checked off, other days are not so great. ln regard to opioid addiction and withdrawal, is there anything that l can do nutritionally to help my mood?

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