I do not know the statistics for New Zealand but deaths from medically prescribed opioids, such as Fentanyl, in the USA, exceeded an estimated and gob-smacking 30,000 unfortunate souls.
While it certainly is not the panacea for all that ails, including pain, cannabis and its extracts such as CBD oil, is showing itself to be a promising alternative to highly addictive and other side-effect-laden drugs for many patients suffering anything from cancer pain to epilepsy.
Right now the new gold rush is on here in New Zealand. Cannabis is the new Kiwi Fruit. It is the new Dairy. The move is on to legalise the production and sale of cannabis products in New Zealand. Millions are being invested right now to capitalise on its legalisation and there will no doubt be some millions being spent of lobbying politicians and officials to ensure that legislative changes are in the best interests of these emerging cannabis industries.
Cannabis is the Next Gold Rush!
I'm all for legalising growing and producing cannabis products for personal use especially those varieties and extracts that are non-addictive. I am relaxed with the production and use of "medical marijuana". But I have some serious reservations.
If a person suffering chronic pain or, say nausea from chemotherapy, grows their own cannabis or gets it from a cottage-industry producer down the road for a few hundred bucks a year, how will this affect the emerging companies that want to sell the very same product to a patient for a whopping $30k per year (subsidised, of course by you and me out of our taxes)?
Cannabis will become yet another natural product that is captured and controlled by Big Pharma.
One of the tactics that I am sure will be employed to capture the medical market is to make it illegal to supply therapeutic doses of cannabis or its extracts from sources other than licenced ones. The maximum amount of active ingredients permitted will be about 100 times less than the therapeutic dose and the licencing and production compliance costs will be so exorbitant to mean that the only players will be the big ones with millions to invest. This is what they have been doing worldwide with natural health products - rendering the permitted doses of the "natural" version so weak that there is no appreciable therapeutic benefit.
Cancer patients will have no choice but to go with the $30k product.
What I fear is we will be no better off in terms of the national financial burden of healthcare which is threatening to bankrupt this country. Nor will be any better off as a nation in terms of health.
No drugs, other than a few like antibiotics, cure anything. The vast majority of drugs on the market, prescribed and over the counter, merely suppress the symptoms of the disease. While they may make life more bearable, the disease processes may continue to quietly percolate away and eventually become unmanageable any more. Over time, the drugs, even the innocuous hayfever tablets, cause new diseases such as hypothyroidism and anxiety to emerge.
These processes of ongoing decline and an increasing number of health issues and their real causes may not be obvious to the individual and may take many years to become overwhelming. People are being lied to that what ails them is "just getting old", "auto-immune", or your fault due to a genetic flaw - the "Family Curse!"
"Just take more pills and she'll be right!" is the message being conveyed to us all nowadays. Yes, there is a pill for everything.
Drugs can lull a person into a false sense of well-being. I think of them as being a Faustian deal that the unwitting person really does end up paying with a real pound of flesh.
Real health comes from identifying the deep root causes of ill health. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue are curable but the public is being told to think these are incurable with the only option being a life dominated increasing pain and disability and an equally increasing cocktail of drugs that come with an eye-watering price tag.
Big Pharma and Big Medicine need you to be sick from the cradle to the grave - this is their business model. Healthy people are very bad for business!
I have no doubt that cannabis products are great for many people who are suffering from a variety of acute and chronic health problems. It promises to be a much better option than many of the highly addictive and corrosive drugs currently in use. So let's get on with legalising its growing and possession for personal use. But let's not allow it to be completely captured and restricted by large commercial interests who are into it for the profits first and your welfare a distant second or not at all.
I welcome your thoughts about this and other topics, or which many are highly contentious. Please free to post your comments in the "Write a Comment" section below.