Last week, #NewYork moved forward with enacting emergency regulations that allows patients to qualify for medical marijuana for any condition in which opiates might normally be prescribed, in an effort to help curb the opioid epidemic.
Overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old, but this isn’t the only alarming statistic that stands out.
Overdose also causes more deaths per year than the HIV epidemic did at its peak.
We are in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in the past century, so it is magnificent to see New York allowing a schedule I drug to be used in replacement of schedule II and III substances, since it is without a doubt much safer in terms of addiction and overdose potentials.
I talked to several industry leaders to see what their reactions were to New York’s emergency regulations. Here’s what they all had to say.
“New York should be applauded for their efforts in helping to elevate the real potential of cannabis as a substitute for prescription opioids. After losing my younger brother two years ago to an opioid overdose, I can personally attest to the dangers of painkillers and the real harm that opioids have done to individuals and families from coast to coast. I hope to see additional states enact similar legislation so that consumers all over the country have easier access to cannabis as a healthier, all-natural alternative to highly-addictive opioids.” — David Kram, Founder & CEO, Silk Road
“We applaud New York regulators for letting research guide their decision making. There is a demand for natural medicine and allowing providers and patients the option to choose cannabis over opioids is a huge step for fighting both the opioid epidemic and the stigma against cannabis use. Recently, we concluded a study on 3,000 cancer patients which was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. This study showed that 36% of patients were able to replace opioids with our cannabis strains for pain management. With studies like this and additional research and education, we hope to see more common sense regulation across the country. “ — Lauren Donley, Marketing Manager, Tikun Olam USA
“New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has been a lot more vocal recently with regards to cannabis, but this time he has hit a home run in terms of harm reduction. Announcing the opportunity for patients who would normally be prescribed opioids for “any condition” to have access to medical marijuana is a big win for public perception and yet another step that will lead to federal legalization. This was already on the books for New York’s Department of Health but these emergency regulations are proof that we can get things moving sooner than later.” — Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, The Blinc Group
“The New York State Department of Health is doing the responsible thing by giving patients the right to opt for medical cannabis over prescription opioids. You just can’t argue with the numbers. It’s no coincidence that states with legal access to cannabis experience much fewer opioid-related hospital visits than non-legal states. We should be honoring the patient’s right to choose – especially since we have scientific evidence backing cannabis in the treatment of neuropathic, acute and chronic pain.” — Shanel Lindsay, CEO, Ardent
“This is a huge win. Here at Bluebird Botanicals, we support anything that expands access to the cannabis plant. The more people who can use hemp extracts, medical marijuana or recreational cannabis to support their health, the better.” — Lex Pelger, Science Director, Bluebird Botanicals
Author Bio: Zane Bader currently works at NisonCo as an account manager. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), where he is on the executive committee and is the secretary for the Board. During his undergraduate studying Mathematics at the University of Georgia, he founded the Psychedelic Club at UGA, as well as helped lead his University’s SSDP chapter and local marijuana reform organization. He was previously employed at UGA’s Center for Research on Behavioral Health, where they conducted the largest and longest comprehensive study on drug abuse treatment within the United States.