However, the ongoing debate about medical marijuana is still a sensitive topic to discuss; More people continue to use it to treat certain ailments. In America, more states allow the use of medical marijuana to treat patients, but now doctors are fighting for marijuana to fight against the opioid epidemic.
In Maine, deaths due to opioid dependence are highest in the United States. Maine is also one of several states that allows the use of medical marijuana to treat patients with certain diseases. Some Maine doctors have also found that their use of marijuana has enabled their patients to combat reliance on the painkiller.
The Opioid Epidemic
Opioids are analgesics that cause morphine-like effects. According to a report by the CDC, about 63,600 deaths in America were caused by an overdose of drugs. Of these deaths, the majority were caused by opioid dependence. In 201
Dustin Sulak, who is a doctor of orthopedic medicine, told CNN that he believes the use of cannabis is necessary to resolve the opioid crisis. Sulak has two outpatient facilities in Maine where he treated patients with marijuana to help them quit opioids. Sulak's patients would combine marijuana with their opioid doses, which would reduce their desire for more opioids that would have led to an overdose.
While Sulak stated that marijuana could not cure addiction to opioid, if it were applied correctly, it could "make a bite out of it".
51-year-old Angie Sinker, one of Sulak's patients today, uses drugs, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs to cope with the pain she suffered nearly two decades ago suffered a car accident.
After gaining a significant amount of weight, she decided not to use the drugs anymore. However, her condition worsened, causing her son to try cannabis. The pain that Sinker felt lessened and she could live her life again. Since marijuana is illegal in her native Indiana, she decided to move to Maine. Sinker has accredited Sulak and the treatment she uses now, saving her life.
"I want people to know that they have options. Do not be afraid to tell your doctor that you do not want those chemicals in your body," she said.
Another patient of Dr. med. Sulak, Doug Campbell, also stated that he did not believe he would still be alive today if he did not try the cannabis treatment. Campbell said he fell off the roof at the age of 18 and broke his lower back. He became addicted to opioids when he started using them. Campbell went on to rehabilitate his addiction 32 times and eventually decided not to use the drug.
Since Campbell has explained to marijuana that he has no more "craving" for opioids.
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