In 2017, 72,000 people in the United States died of an overdose. This harrowing statistic is enough to give most people pause.
Opioid abuse has become recognized as a nationwide epidemic in recent years, and Arizona is no exception. In the past four years, Arizona's opioid overdose deaths have increased by 74 percent, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. From June 15, 2017, to Aug. 2, 2018, over 10,000 Arizonans were treated for opioid overdoses, and 1,544 suspected opioid deaths have occurred.
Opioid abuse plays no favorites, spares no socioeconomic class and touches families and community members of all ages. Fighting the opioid crisis starts with knowing when an opioid prescription is necessary and when an alternative method could be appropriate. Here's what everyone should know about opioid alternatives.
One alternative to opioid use is medicinal marijuana. A recent study released by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and Weill Cornell Medical College and reported by Item 9 Labs Corp. found that "medical marijuana prescriptions over a 21-year period in the U.S. were associated with an almost 30 percent reduction in the use of certain types of opioids by the study's subjects."
Researchers have found that medicinal marijuana has pain-relieving properties that can help relieve mild to moderate pain. It is considered to have a lower risk of addiction compared with opioids and is very difficult to overdose on. A medical marijuana prescription also prevents an initial exposure to opioid use, which in turn reduces a patient's risk of opioid dependency.
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health also indicated that states with operational medical marijuana laws experience "reductions in opioid positivity among 21- to 40-year-old fatally injured drivers and may reduce opioid use and overdose."
Medicated nasal spray
Cannabis health solutions continue to grow as companies invest in research that harnesses its medicinal properties.
In April 2018, Airware Labs changed its name to Item 9 Labs Corp. and went public on the stock exchange. Since then, it has introduced a nasal mucus-membrane delivery system that is the industry's "first nasal delivery device that administers specific cannabinoid dosing," according to Item 9 Labs Corp.
By bypassing the filtering and metabolism that occur in the body's liver and bloodstream, the nasal spray delivers the drug directly to the brain, bringing faster, more targeted relief, Item 9 Labs Corp. says.
Delta 8 offers pain relief with fewer side effects
Patients looking for a medicine that will fight anxiety and panic, reduce nausea and act as a mild painkiller but without the risk of overdose attendant with opioids will be intrigued by Delta 8. Because it is less psychoactive than other cannabinoids, Item 9 Labs Corp. says Delta 8 is known for packing a medicinal punch without the "stoned" side effects of marijuana products made from other cannabinoid compounds.
According to Item 9 Labs Corp., a study on Delta 8's anti-nausea properties,reported that children with cancer undergoing chemotherapy found their nausea was almost entirely eradicated when dosed with this cannabinoid, and they experienced very few negative side effects.
Educational resources available for patients
Patients who use medical marijuana can receive education and support at annual events such as 710 Degree Errl Cup, a cannabis festival held in Phoenix on 7/10, a day that has become associated with marijuana extracts. (Notice that 710 flipped upside down looks like the word "oil.")
The 2018 Errl 710 Degree Cup featured vendors who offered free medicated samples and education to patients who wonder which strain works best for which symptoms. The Errl Cup also offered patients the opportunity to recognize dispensaries that offered the best, most transparent service and brought companies face to face with the patients whose lives they've changed with their products.
Dispensaries found throughout Arizona
Medical marijuana dispensaries are in convenient locations throughout Arizona, which means patients have easy access to the product they need when they need it. Dispensaries also employ knowledgeable staff who are available to help answer questions when patients wonder what product will best suit their needs.