Big Pharma vs Cannabis

Is “Big Pharma” the hero or the villain?

In a medical report published in 2008, the State of Florida found that prescription medications (“Big Pharma”) easily exceeded illegal drugs as a major cause of death. The report by Florida’s Medical Examiners Commission concluded from their analysis of 168,900 autopsies in Florida, that three times as many people were killed by pharmaceuticals drugs than by cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine put together. Cocaine was responsible for 843 deaths, Heroin for 121, and methamphetamine for 25. Cannabis accounted for no deaths whatsoever.

Opiods, the real killers

In contrast, 2,300 people were killed by opioid painkillers which included Vicodin and Oxycotin, and 743 were killed by drugs containing benzodiazepine, including valium and Xanax. These facts were first reported in a publication named “Prohibition then and now“.

The number of annual hospitalizations for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal complications is an astronomical 100,000 cases as reported by the American Journal of Medicine. Additionally, an article by the New England Journal of Medicine reported an additional 16.500 NSAID related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.

A “silent epidemic,”

If the number of Big Pharma product-related deaths truly does exist, then why do these toxic effects remain a “silent epidemic,” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem? Furthermore, the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over the counter NSAIDs. So the question begs: is Cannabis the real threat to this country, or is “Big Pharma” and their products a menace or a cure? Let’s examine…

No one has ever died…

Unlike many pharmaceutical medications, there has never been a single recorded fatality from cannabis use. That is to say that no one has ever died as a direct result of ingesting cannabis nor have there been any instances of brain receptors damaged through its use. Unlike alcohol and other drugs, cannabis does not wear out the brain receptors, it merely stimulates them.

Standard Measure of Toxicity

To further drive this point home, let’s examine the “Standard Measure of Toxicity” or LD50 of material, in humans, through ingestion, skin contact or injection. The LD50 (therapeutic ratio) is measured in micrograms (milligrams) of the material per kilogram or the test animal’s body weight. The lower the amount, the more toxic the material. The estimated (lethal dose) for cannabis is estimated at 1:20,000 thru 1:40,000. In layman’s terms that is to say that in order to reach a lethal dose, a cannabis smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much cannabis as is contained in one 0.9 gram joints. Not even Cheech and Chong could attain these levels of toxicity.

Comparing Cannabis to other drugs…

Now let’s contrast cannabis to other drugs including alcohol, here are the numbers: Heroine has a ratio of 6:1, alcohol and Valium both score 10:1, Cocaine has a ratio of 15:1, Aspirin has a ratio of 20:1 (40 tablets will cause death). Some cancer treatment drugs have toxic levels of 1.5:1.

Now the good news

Now the good news: early research indicates that cannabinoids can do so much more. Data is showing that medical marijuana has anti-tumor effects and may one day be used as a cancer treatment, not just as a drug to ease symptoms of the disease. Well over 100 types of cannabinoids—the compounds within cannabis containing different properties and chemical profiles—have been identified to date, yet few have been studied for their specific effects.

The drug’s full potential

Medical marijuana’s proven palliative care benefits and the complexity of the drug indicate clinical studies are necessary to uncover the drug’s full potential. We at the Dallas Hemp Company may very well be at the forefront to benefit from the research being done with the cannabis plant. Time will tell…

Luis R Claudio - Author
Author luis R Claudio

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