Here’s even more proof that the plant is a way out of addiction

Photo courtesy Pixabay

From the “About” page of my newly revamped website, DavidHeitz.com:

“I am an Illinois medical cannabis cardholder with the qualifying condition of chronic PTSD. Do not let anyone ever tell you that you are not really sober if you are using medical cannabis.”

I quietly made the change about two weeks ago, fully realizing that I probably can forget about any more great-paying work from rehab centers. I got into journalism to help people anyway, not get rich.

The next sentence likely sealed the deal that I won’t be getting any more work from members of the staid medical establishment.

“I believe addiction should be a qualifying condition for a marijuana card if deemed appropriate by a doctor. It goes without saying that federal laws about cannabis need to be abolished to align with science and the majority of the states.”

Read more: My paid addiction/recovery portfolio

I’m not worried. The mainstream medical establishment is on the wrong side of this issue. I have no doubt work will be forthcoming from more progressive medical sectors.

Consider a new survey by HelloMD. It shows almost EVERY opioid user surveyed in a study for the site agrees they can decrease their opioid use with cannabis, and that they would rather be medicating with the plant.

I have no doubt that the day is coming – perhaps it’s here already – where there will be rehab centers that discuss cannabis use as a path to sobriety.

This has been going on in AA chapters for decades, folks. Many have established pot dealers among their ranks. And many – way more than you would think – smoke their cannabis at home, keep it to themselves, and just go to their 12-step meetings with their mouths taped shut.

When your doctor says ‘The research just isn’t there’

Nobody likes making medical claims based largely on conjecture. And let me stress that I am not a doctor and my website is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from a trained professional.

But when it comes to cannabis, we don’t have much choice. The federal government not only has resisted allowing clinical studies on cannabis, the studies that have been done only have used a few different types of plant. That’s because the feds require the weed used for research be grown in their garden at the University of Mississippi.

So today I report, with vigor, some anecdotal evidence I do not find surprising: According to a new study released last week by HelloMD, 80 percent of people surveyed found CBD “very” or “extremely” effective for treating their ailments. More than 40 percent reported that they have stopped using “traditional medications” in favor of cannabis, according to the HelloMD survey.

Read about my medicine cabinet shakeup: Bye-bye Xanax, hello medical cannabis (CBD)

When I got off benzodiazepines about two months ago after being on them for two years – 4 mg per day of Ativan in the height of it all – I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. It felt so good, in fact, that it renewed my commitment to sobriety after falling off the wagon after 2 ½ years in January.

In July, I stopped drinking completely again after a spurt of relapses that lasted about five months. The relapses continued because my commitment to sobriety had waned. I was no longer making an effort nor did I feel the need to. With the cannabis, I feel an overall sense of hope again.

I have been through a lot. And I’m quite certain it’s not over yet.

Even more importantly than getting my sobriety back is the fact that I physically and mentally feel a hundred times better. The reason for this is that my Illinois medical cannabis card allows me, as a qualifying patient, to purchase flower, oil, sprays, topicals, patches, pills and edibles high in CBD content.

I can purchase anything I want at the dispensary, actually. You’re not actually written a prescription by a doctor, at least you don’t have to be. Responsible doctors who are acknowledging the powers of medical cannabis are doing that, however — when qualified — to help their patients make knowledgeable cannabis decisions.

The truth is, many doctors aren’t qualified to make recommendations about cannabis. And too many have no interest in learning about it. And that’s precisely why people are turning to HelloMD, where real doctors trained in medical cannabis can get you started on the qualification process – all right online.

It’s very cool.

Over the weekend I posted a video about dabbing CBD oil on candy to treat PTSD-related symptoms throughout the day. It was a huge hit, without a single derogatory or anti-cannabis comment.

Obviously, the secret is out.

CBD doesn’t make you ‘high’

CBD is not THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that makes a person “high.” But don’t fool yourself – THC has significant medical properties, too. While CBD keeps me calm, it won’t put me to sleep. An indica-dominant strain with high levels of THC and the right terpenes does (Lemon Skunk, Granddaddy Purple, Cuvee, Shangri-la, Starry Night).

CBD, however, is fast emerging the true doctor in the house when it comes to medical cannabis.

Read more: How medical cannabis is funding mental health services in Shelby County, Ill.

According to the HelloMD study, conducted by the Brightfield Group:

  • People who treat their illnesses with CBD spend less per month on medical cannabis than those who treat their medical conditions with THC-dominant strains. While the study references people getting by on as little as $80 per month, I’m not sure that’s applicable in states where medical cannabis is extremely expensive, like Illinois. In other states, like California, it may very well be the case that you can medicate for $100 per month or less.
  • More than half say their CBD products do a better job at treating their medical conditions than their Pharma scripts. Amen. All I take now is blood pressure medication.

What is CBD used for?

In addition to PTSD, which is my qualifying condition, CBD is used for:

  • Joint pain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic pain and severe pain
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea

What HelloMD has to say about its study

More than 1,400 people participated in the HelloMD survey.

“The latest publication from the National Academy of Sciences clearly refuted the ‘gateway drug’ theory that using marijuana can lead to opioid addiction, instead finding evidence of cannabis having multiple curative benefits,” Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer of HelloMD, said in a news release.

“Our study further substantiates this. Hopefully this will awaken the public, medical professionals and legislatures to this fact that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive product available to help fight the opioid epidemic,” he added.

Amanda Reiman, a PhD at the School of Social Welfare, Berkeley, led the study. “The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States,” she bluntly explains in the news release. “The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid-related overdoses and dependence.”

When all is said and done, I have interviewed too many opioid addicts who got off the drugs with marijuana to continue to endorse opioid maintenance therapy as a long-term solution.

Reiman echoes exactly what I have heard, over and over and over again: “Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid based medications. It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.”

Amen.

To check out HelloMD’s report for yourself, click here. 

Read more: My portfolio of paid articles about mental health issues

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