The opioid crisis rages on and yet critics of cannabis continue to call it a ‘gateway drug’. Dr. Mehmet Oz, in contrast to this, recently stated on Fox News that he believes cannabis may be the ‘exit drug’ for opioid addiction. Dr. Oz has released a petition on Change.org asking the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the White House to quadruple its funding for cannabis research. NIH currently allots $111 million dollars for studies involving cannabis—only 0.3% of their entire spending total on research.
According to Dr. Oz, “Outdated beliefs and policies have prevented our country from funding medical cannabis research but the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has reviewed other scientific research and found evidence that patients treated with cannabis or cannabinoids were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms. Yet the government still says cannabis has no proven medical value.“
This statement mimics the results from the recent HelloMD study published in conjunction with the University of California, Berkeley. Results of this study which focused on chronic pain, opioids and cannabis showed that 97% of patients were able to decrease their opioid consumption when using cannabis.
Opioids have their place for use in short-term acute pain, but their effectiveness in the management of chronic pain been falsely perpetuated by Big Pharma companies and physicians to patients since the late 1990s. With 91 deaths per day attributed to these addictive narcotics, more must be done to help raise the awareness that cannabis is a viable alternative to opioids. With this petition, we hope that NIH will start to take this issue more seriously and increase funding for these studies, which are desperately needed. Please join me in signing this petition NOW.