Plants Over Pills

CBD and the Fight Against Fentanyl

“You will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

Now is the time for the cannabis industry to show profound courage in providing Americans with alternatives to opioids; three years ago, half of all known deaths by overdose in the US were attributed to Fentanyl according to this report by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, this totaled close to 50,000 American lives lost to this synthetic opioid. Moreover, Merry Jane recently reported that Fentanyl manufacturer Subsys’s CEO Michael Babich will be doing 25 years in prison for pushing his noxious product by way of mail fraud and conspiracy. Unsurprisingly, one or more additional substances were also involved in at least 60% of overdose death linked to Fentanyl. With all of the federal action that has been taken against Cannabis (both Sativa and Ruderalis), there have been zero deaths globally that have been attributed to CBD. As action is taken by President Trump to build a wall that he’s still hoping Mexico will pay for, we are discovering, as Congressman Tim Ryan tweeted earlier this week, that greater quantities of hard drugs including Fentanyl are indeed being smuggled through borders – at designated points of entry.

Plants Over Pills: CBD and the Fight Against Fentanyl

Introduction of Cannabinoids

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do… when there’s a better, cheaper and less risky choice on the market? 

“Pot over pills” is a phrase the cannabis community has adopted over the last decade. It is heard in conversation at industry events, on major news outlets and nowadays you can even find it on an Etsy tee. Folks are becoming progressively proactive when it comes to their physical care and maintenance, and natural wellness practices are piquing as a content and market trend. In April of 2018, CNN even began to recognize this trend, and in late December of the same year, they quoted the Center for Disease Control in saying that Fentanyl is reportedly the deadliest drug in America to date. This statement came with the dictation of deaths traced to other drugs – Oxycodone came to a gross sum of one third, and Cocaine one half that of Fentanyl. It wasn’t until Fentanyl surpassed the astonishing number of lives taken by Heroin (which was at 15,000) at a heart-wrenching 18,000 in 2016 that the public began to recognize what a significant danger this substance was demonstrating.

Plants Over Pills: CBD and the Fight Against Fentanyl

The World Health Organization and A Ticking Clock

As an industry, now more than ever we need to advocate for and position cannabis brands as an alternative or supplementary aid to prescription opioids. States including New York and Illinois have used the argument of opioid impact to defend legalization of medical cannabis. We continue to see the efforts of our community creating waves, and in 2019 this is bound to ripple on a global scale. This past winter, Farm Bill 2018 passed the federal legalization of hemp – creating a window for non-intoxicating cannabinoids (which promote anti-inflammatory and relaxation effects) to be produced, processed, distributed, and sold within the United States. Around the same time, writer Sara Somerset with Forbes released an article accounting that the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence was reviewing the decades-old scheduling of cannabis and cannabinoids effective as of the International Drug Control Conventions.

“UN critics speculate that the (World Health) Organization’s slow response to organizing an in-depth cannabis review is the result of legalization being in direct violation of international drug treaties.” Somerset wrote.

With that, it’s implied that the world is waiting on WHO to be canna-centric in the battle against opioids – but that doesn’t mean your cannabis company can’t start today. In campaign strategy, social outreach, and at any event, remember that your product does more than bring people relaxation or a laugh with friends; cannabis has the potential to save lives, and waiting on the rest of the world to see the shield it can act as against Fentanyl will only add to the body count – like a ticking clock.