A record number of Canadians died of opioid overdoses in 2017, according to figures released by Health Canada and with numbers hitting 4000 in 2017, we are on track in 2018 to exceed 5000 opioid related deaths. Many people with opioid dependency issues started down that path innocently enough when they were prescribed any number of the plethora of opioid based pain medications in todays market. In Canada people begin even more innocently then that. Often people start down that slippery slope using the most innocent of over the counter pain meds. Tylenol 1 with 8 MG caffeine and 8 MG codeine which unbelievably in Canada is still available without prescription. Health Canada has said for a few years now the regulations are coming and that this seemingly innocent medication will be governed as the prescription remedy it should be.
Having spent part of my career working for a Canadian pharmacy, I believe tight controls are certainly an answer but so is a blend of personal responsibility and the soon to be legal option of cannabis. This isn’t the same marijuana from high school. Strains now are so wide and varied that you can pick strains with the profile you need help you with your ailment well beyond treating opioid addiction. Is it pain relief you seek, a break from the stress of daily life, having trouble sleeping or are you just looking to spend a creative hour designing your new Man Cave or She Shed. Years of cross breeding plants and various cultivation techniques have created a truly designer experience based on desire.
Preliminary studies seem to be showing that cannabis can help get opioid users off the drugs they are on. We hope to see more research in this area with government and doctors looking at this as an option to prevent putting patients on opioids or as a potential solution to get them off. In Canada we seem to be heading in the right direction with recreational legalization. We do hope that recreational legalization does not push medical patients to use recreational channels to serve their medical needs as we need to test and establish cannabis as a medical alternative to harder pharmaceuticals that seem to be at the source of the opioid epidemic. We hope to be part of this solution as we move forward at U-Bud Cannabis Services. We’re almost there Canada.
Andy Buchanan