Can Marijuana Help with the Opioid Overdose Problem?

Smart Approaches to Marijuana has the Answer for Senator Warren

Last year Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked the CDC if marijuana can be used to fight the opioid epidemic.  There’s an answer in Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s recent publication, its educational toolkit for 2017.  The publication refers to academic studies which suggest that marijuana primes the brain for other types of drug usage, alcohol and heroin.  Here’s the summary on that subject from page 4, Marijuana and Other Drugs: A Link We Can’t Ignore :

MORE THAN FOUR in 10 people who ever use marijuana will go on to use other illicit drugs, per a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.(1) The CDC also says that marijuana users are three times more likely to become addicted to heroin.(2)

Although 92% of heroin users first used marijuana before going to heroin, less than half used painkillers before going to heroin.

And according to the seminal 2017 National Academy of Sciences report, “There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or a substance abuse disorder for substances including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.”(3)

RECENT STUDIES WITH animals also indicate that marijuana use is connected to use and abuse of other drugs. A 2007 Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology study found that rats given THC later self administered heroin as adults, and increased their heroin usage, while those rats that had not been treated with THC maintained a steady level of heroin intake.(4) Another 2014 study found that adolescent THC exposure in rats seemed to change the rodents’ brains, as they subsequently displayed “heroin-seeking” behavior. Youth marijuana use could thus lead to “increased vulnerability to drug relapse in adulthood.”(5)

The National Institutes of Health says that research in this area is “consistent with animal experiments showing THC’s ability to ‘prime’ the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs. For example, rats previously administered THC show heightened behavioral response not only when further exposed to THC, but also when exposed to other drugs such as morphine—a phenomenon called cross-sensitization.”(6)

Suggestions that one addictive substance replaces another ignores the problem of polysubstance abuse, the common addiction of today.

ADDITIONALLY, THE MAJORITY of studies find that marijuana users are often polysubstance users, despite a few studies finding limited evidence that some people substitute marijuana for opiate medication. That is, people generally do not substitute marijuana for other drugs. Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences report found that “with regard to opioids, cannabis use predicted continued opioid prescriptions 1 year after injury.  Finally, cannabis use was associated with reduced odds of achieving abstinence from alcohol, cocaine, or polysubstance use after inpatient hospitalization and treatment for substance use disorders” [emphasis added].(7)

Moreover, a three-year 2016 study of adults also found that marijuana compounds problems with alcohol. Those who reported marijuana use during the first wave of the survey were more likely than adults who did not use marijuana to develop an alcohol use disorder within three years.(8) Similarly, alcohol consumption in Colorado has increased slightly since legalization. (9)

Here’s the complete Data on Marijuana Policy for 2017 in pdf form.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is a strong advocate for consumer rights

Here’s the Answer for Senator Warren

Senator Warren, Parents Opposed to Pot, which doesn’t support any political party, hopes you’re satisfied with the answer.  We miss your previous, more sensible approach to marijuana before NORML criticized you a few years back. These industry promoters are placing their stories in national publications because they honor their profits over public health.  They want users who will become addicted and so suggest the substitution of marijuana for pain pills.  We believe the future of pain medicine is in utilizing alternative, mind-based stressed reduction strategies and meditation to deal with chronic pain.   Remember, “medical” marijuana was planned as a hoax.

Senator Warren, you’re deeply respected by youth.  You could be a powerful spokesperson by advocating for them not to use drugs.  The problem is that — for some young people — that critical first choice to use a drug turns into a game of Russian Roulette.

Parents who lost children to drugs overwhelmingly insist their children initiated drug use with marijuana and alcohol.  Marijuana advocates insist marijuana is “not a gateway” drug, but studies show otherwise.  Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs for 40+ percent of those who start using pot.  It is never wise to substitute one drug of addiction for another drug of addiction.   Please consider that not everyone who becomes addicted to opiates started because of pain.  Many started for fun.  According to a Jon Daily of Recovery Happens, most begin pain pill abuse because their relationship with intoxication began as a relationship with marijuana and/or alcohol.

There are many other ways to treat the opiate epidemic:  better prevention programs, mandating education in the schools and  clamping down on internet sellers of these drugs.  Studies claiming fewer overdose deaths occur in marijuana states need to consider the availability of suboxone, other drugs to counter the overdose.

Senator Warren, please check out Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates an alternative to legalization which does not include incarceration.    In our next article, Senator Warren, we will discuss the marijuana-mental illness links………… once again.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Secades-Villa R, Garcia-Rodríguez O, Jin CJ, Wang S, Blanco C Probability and predictors of the cannabis gateway effect: a national study. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(2):135-142

2. Centers for Disease Control. Today’s heroin epidemic Infographics more people at risk, multiple drugs abused. CDC, 7 July 2015.

3. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health andPublic Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda (“2017 NAS Report”).

4. Ellgren, Maria et al. “Adolescent Cannabis Exposure Alters Opiate Intake and Opioid Limbic Neuronal Populations in Adult Rats.”Neuropsychopharmacology 32.3 (2006): 607–615.

5. Stropponi, Serena et al. Chronic THC during adolescence increases the vulnerability to stress-induced relapse to heroin seeking in adult rats. European Neuropsychopharmacology Volume 24 , Issue 7 (2014), 1037 – 1045.

6. “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Jan. 2017. See also Panlilio LV, Zanettini C, Barnes C, Solinas M, Goldberg SR. Prior exposure to THC increases the addictive effects of nicotine in rats. Neuropsychopharmacol Off Publ Am Coll Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013;38(7):1198-1208; Cadoni C, Pisanu A, Solinas M, Acquas E, Di Chiara G. Behavioural sensitization after repeated exposure to Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cross-sensitization with morphine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;158(3):259-266.

7.  2017 NAS report.

8.  Weinberger AH, Platt J, Goodwin RD. Is cannabis use associated with an increased risk of onset and persistence of alcohol use disorders? A three-year prospective study among adults in the United States. Drug Alcohol Depend. February 2016.

9. Rocky Mountain HIDTA Investigative Support Center Strategic Intelligence Unit. The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volum

Groups-Against-Marijuana

Newest Activist Groups Go Against “Recreational” Marijuana

The newest groups against marijuana commercialization:                          Texans Against Legalizing Marijuana (LIKE their  Facebook page)  Families Against Recreational Marijuana (FARM)                    
Neo-American Political Group
(Like their Facebook page, please)

Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming may legalize marijuana this year. Merry Jane claims these states have strong policymakers working to actively legalize and regulate cannabis.  The article left out Rhode Island and Wisconsin.  Legalization means commercialization (don’t deny it–that is what has happened in every state that voted to legalize.)   Please join us in stopping the commercialization of marijuana.  Decriminalization is already in place.  NORML is raising money and trying to normalize pot use in every state.   Hit the “LIKE” and “SHARE” buttons in order to raise the profile of all groups that fight this in their states.

California Groups  (Please suggest to friends, family in the state)

Butane Hash Oil and Honey Oil Dangers (against pot labs only)
Ban Commercial Cultivation                                                                          BSane.org                                                                                                                
Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana

Moms Strong
Stop Pot
RAM – Rethinking Access to Marijuana
STOP Commercial Pot (California)
Take Back America Campaign

 Colorado Groups (Please suggest to friends, families there)
Parents of Colorado Against the Normalization of Dope
Parents for a Healthy Colorado
People Against Retail Marijuana in Manitou Springs (PARMMS)
Smart Colorado
Pueblo for Positive Impact                                                                                      Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo                                                                                      Act on Drugs

Massachusetts                                                                                                                  Be Smarter Massachusetts
Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts

Florida                                                                                                                                        Auntie Cannabis is Anti-Pot                                                                                            No on 2
Mothers Opposed 2 Marijuana
Prevention Plus Wellness

Maine
Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Maine
Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities

Oregon
Portland for Positive Impact
Clear Alliance

Other States
Vote No on 2 Nevada
Keep Arkansas Safe
Keeping Missouri Kids Safe
Texas Alarm

Safe Montana
Marijuana Issues in Tennessee

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy
Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada                                                      Don’t Roll Up Roll Out
I Hate Marijuana                                                                                                                  LegalLies
Marijuana Harms Families
Marijuana Issues in Tennessee
MarijuanaX
National Families in Action
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
SAM Taskforce
Stop the Legalization of Marijuana
Texans ALARM

Please sign the petition against T-Mobile for trying to normalize marijuana use.

Please start a group for your state to go against legalization if it doesn’t have one.     There are many other community, county and groups affiliated with CADCA. This list emphasizes groups that concentrate on marijuana prevention.   Drug Free America Foundation is national and it opposes all drugs.  Smart Approaches to Marijuana and Parents Opposed to Pot focus on marijuana.  National Families in Action writes the latest studies of marijuana in The Marijuana Report (see above). We must support each other, as well as other state groups.

We are sorry to have left out some groups, but if you want to see a group added please write media@poppot.org

T-Mobile Under Fire for Superbowl Ad

Boycott T-Mobile for its Superbowl Ads

See T-Mobile ad here. Sign the petition here.   (Originally published in The Marijuana Report, February 15 edition)

In December, a grandmother protested the marketing of leggings printed with marijuana leaves to young toddlers. Now a group of angry parents is taking aim at T-Mobile, a larger target they say is trying to normalize drug use by targeting the message to children.

During the broadcast of Super Bowl LI on February 5, T-Mobile aired an ad with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and rap artist Snoop Dogg (real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.) during which the two bantered, making several not-so-veiled humorous references to marijuana.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog’s Potluck Dinner show on VH1 was used as the theme of a Superbowl ad for T-Mobile. It was seen by countless families with children, and parents see it as attempt to market marijuana — along with the cell phone use — to children.

The ad is meant to play off Stewart and Broadus’ VH1 reality show, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” a show geared to millennials that some reviewers concede is nothing more than an effort to normalize the use of marijuana.

Parents are not having it

During the Super Bowl, a T-Mobile ad ran with such references as ‘pot,’ ‘can o bisque,’ ‘greenery,’ and ‘purple cushions’ [Purple Kush is a popular strain of marijuana]. How much more of an attempt to normalize this to youngsters can you get? The Super Bowl is something whole families watch. This was the worst place to air a commercial like this UNLESS the goal was to make drug use a joke and get kids to think marijuana is ‘no big deal,’ “explained a Missouri mom who has had several friends lose children to drug abuse, including marijuana addiction.

She has organized a petition to boycott T-Mobile, understanding that she faces an uphill battle against a society that increasingly believes marijuana is not harmful.

However, she has the support of drug policy experts who have been warning of the same for years.  Drug policy expert Kevin Sabet, co-founder and President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), explained, “Ads like this show exactly what the marijuana legalization movement is about—addiction for profit. Last year, tens of millions of pot lobby dollars bankrolled an initiative in California that would allow pot smoking ads to run on television.  Three months later, the same lobby promotes this ad during an event when millions of kids were watching.  It’s Big Tobacco all over again.”     (Originally published in The Marijuana Report, February 15 edition.)

See T-Mobile ad here. Sign the petition here.

Deaths in Butane Hash Oil Labs Rise, Along with Lawsuits

Tracking Deaths from Hash Oil Labs Exposes the Growing Danger

People use marijuana to make butane hash oil , also called honey oil.  Hash oil labs using marijuana have replaced meth labs as the most dangerous drug labs of our time.   They are blowing up people and homes, particularly in California and in the West.

By April, 2015, the California Alliance of Drug-Endangered Children had tracked 41 marijuana lab deaths in that state between 2011 and April, 2015.  Three children had died by that time and several more were injured.   More recent information on the deaths in California  aren’t available at this time.

In California, they call it “honey oil” to disguise its connection to marijuana.  When fires are reported on the news, reporters often don’t mention the connection to marijuana.

To the 41 deaths in California, we can add:

1 two-month-old baby who slept adjacent to a room in Colorado where BHO was made.

2 in Washington, including Nan Campbell who died as a result of the massive Bellevue explosion in November 2013.  An elderly man in Spokane whose respiratory problems resulted after a neighbor made BHO died after two months in the hospital.

1 grandmother in Minnesota whose grandson used her home to make BHO

2 in New York, including Michael Fahy.  Fahy was the fire  captain who perished while putting out the fire in a marijuana grow lab in the Bronx.   The other death in New York was 19-year-old Anthony Gambale from Brooklyn.     He rallied to survive, but eventually died.

1 man in Gresham, Oregon, who died June 14, 2013, six weeks after the explosion

1 man in Hawaii, January, 2014

1 man in Rhode Island, explosion, on July 31, 2015.   He died three months later.

Above and top, explosion in New York  on September 27, 2016. Fire Captain Michael Fahy died after fighting the blaze. Fire fighters claim drug lab fires are more difficult to put out than ordinary house fires, because of the way debris shoots and explodes. Photos WABC-TV, via AP

2 allegedly died after the Rio Dell fire on November 9, 2016.  The burns covered 90% of their bodies.   At least 22 hash oil explosions have occurred in California since the vote to legalize marijuana on November 8, 2016.

Legal, legitimate Labs also Explode, Resulting Lawsuits

Advocates will say these deaths will stop if it’s regulated and  allowed only in state-licensed dispensaries.  However, fires have occurred in licensed dispensaries in California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan and New Mexico.    The lab that exploded in New Mexico was one the state’s largest marijuana companies.   One of the workers who suffered from extensive burns in the fire sued the dispensary.

A construction worker burned at the Oregon dispensary fire is now suing the medical marijuana owner.

Switching to propane won’t make it safer.   Propane caused the explosion at a legal dispensary/warehouse near Saugatuck, Michigan.

Michigan or Rhode Island could be the next state to legalize marijuana.  However,  Michigan has seen its share of hash oil explosions, most of them caused by medical marijuana patients.   The one in Grand Rapids occurred with a six-year-old child in the home.    Firefighters fighting this type of fire, such as the one in Muskegon, find them more dangerous than regular house fires.    Child abuse is always a concern at these labs, and two children were present during the recent fire in Niles Township, Michigan.

We believe the regulation of butane will be very difficult, just like all other regulation programs that try to regulate these labs:  https://www.facebook.com/lostcoastoutpost/videos.   In short, regulating marijuana dispensaries is a terrible task. It doesn’t work.