FEDERAL AGENCY SAYS DOCTORS DON'T NEED TO TEST FOR POT
photo credit - Chart - Death by Drugs vs Marijuana
“Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
- Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Public Health Administrator
Urine drug screens, both legal and illegal, are conducted routinely by physicians in patients with pain management issues. Previously THC was included in the test of "illicit" substances. Now the Fed Medical Braintrust is changing its tune and says Marijuana Testing is not necessary. Why the change in tune, why are they Whistlin Dixie about Marijuana?
Beware of Greeks bearing Gifts
If the intent to stop routine Marijuana is a sincere effort to improve the quality of health then we're all for it. With that said, the track record of the Fed is schizophrenic at best, and Machiavellian at worst.
Let's take this seemingly positive news with a grain of salt. Let's look at both sides of the coin. Might some altruistic proponents for Medical Marijuana unwittingly be supporting a diabolical scheme? The fact is that the Fed forces is actively raiding - right now - the largest and most profession Medical Marijuana businesses, with a particular "fondness" for routing CBD manufacturers. CBD is not psychoactive and cannot in theory appear on any narcotic or illicit substance list on it's own.
- Cannabis is now seen as viable alternative to pills for many patients, it has no lethal overdose level, while painkiller overdoses kill at least 20 Americans per day.
No More Routine Testing for Marijuana
No more routine testing for marijuana by the medical establishment It sounds like a good thing, right? The mighty powers that be - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now advising doctor's across the country to stop testing patients for Marijuana. Certainly, testing for THC (the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis), without a medical reason, is simply a waste of time and money.
And yes, generally speaking, doctors don't give a damn if their patients smoke a joint. On the contrary, in the past, why did the Fed Medical advisors establish routine THC testing in the first place?- and then do a 180, saying it is now in the best interests of patients not to test for Mary Jane.
There are two schools of thought on why the Feds do what they do. A, they act in the interests of the public or B. they cater to Big Pharma and their mega-buck lobby groups. Let's look at both edges of the sword shall we? The conspiracy theory and the do gooder theory.
Conspiracy Theory : Big Pharma and Feds Plot against MMJ
If you follow the money on this one, and look beyond all the lovely intellectual words implying hearty medical ethics and compassionate patient care, the suggestion to stop testing for THC might be seen as ice-cold and pragmatic. Following the money, If a patient tests positive for Marijuana, then it is more difficult to prescribe Opiates - to a "risk group", i.e. substance abuser. That means the loss of a sale.
Is it akin to a Spanish Inquisition mentality? Does testing positive for a joint still establishes you, metaphorically speaking, as proof of being a witch, a heather, leppard, an outcast, a heretic? The answer, unfortunately is yes in some cases. The reality is that you can lose your job and your house if test positive. Sad.
- “I’d like to see the government back a programme of research into the medical properties of cannabis and I do not object to its responsible use as a recreational relaxant.” - Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Doctors are Under Pressure from Bad Press - Many High Profile Celebs are Dying from Opiates
If a doctor prescribes Opiates to drug abusers, they can get into big trouble. The many high profile opiate related deaths are often attributed to the celebrities personal doctor's cavalier approach to prescribing dangerous drugs.
Before legalization, testing for Marijuana was an effective way to scare some people away from using the herbal drug - for fear of being stigmatized and repercussion. Now with legalization, many people don't give a shit if they test positive, they already have a MMJ ID Card, they're legal goddamn it. Responding to the change in times, the big Pharma think tank may have decided pragmatically, that it is not in their best interests to test for THC, because a positive makes it harder to sell Opiate (and other ) pain killers.
"In March, 2016, the CDC released an updated set of guidelines for prescribing opioids to patients suffering from chronic pain. Buried inside the language of this attempt to put a leash on the prescription painkiller epidemic, the CDC urged doctors to modify their drug screening policies in an effort to prevent those testing positive for THC metabolites from being disqualified from treatment." - USA Today
Is it an example of Orwellian doublespeak? When the agency stated that, while THC testing is no longer useful and necessary, it is still a good idea to discover any “undisclosed use” of illicit substances. Incase you didn't know exactly, Opiates (diamorphine), Morphine, Codeine are very similar in structure, they are all addictive narcotics. While many doctor's prescriptions are legitimate, there is massive abuse and addiction. And this issues is now on the public's radar, it is not politically correct to prescribe Opiates that kill the patients.
Deciphering the Fed-Med Lingo.
“Clinicians should not test for substances for which results would not affect patient management or for which implications for patient management are unclear. For example, experts noted that there might be uncertainty about the clinical implications of a positive urine drug test for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC).”
Translation: Uncertainty about the clinical implications, means a marijuana positive can lead the doctor in question to - NOT prescribe opiates. And don't' forget too, CBD (a non-psychoactive molecule in Marijuana) seems to be on the hit list of the pharmaceuticals. CBD is poised to bite huge chunks out of the painkiller manufacturer's market. Forget that CBD is NOT psychoactive and has nothing whatsoever to do with recreational drug use or abuse. Nor is CBD dangerous and non-addictive.
- Pubmed lists 122 hundred peer reviewed reports and studies that generally conclude or suggest that CBD is an effective and very safe medicine, without the strongly addictive properties of Opiates.
High Ethical Standards?
Although patients don't have to pass a drug test to be prescribed Opiate Painkillers, doctors are held to a "higher standard" when dealing with patients identified to have used illicit substances, including medical cannabis. A positive THC tests means it's harder for Doctors to allow patients to "participate" and creates "hardship" for patients to get their Opiates. Further, the CDC says it's not necessary to stigmatize patients and cause the unnecessary termination of Opiate therapy.
- “Indeed, Cal NORML regularly hears from patients who are terminated from pain management medications because of their use of medical marijuana,” California NORML
There surely must be some well meaning professionals in medicine that think the CDC's new stance marks the start of sanity toward Marijuana at the Federal level; that policies in the legitimate best interests of medicine and health care.
At the end of the day, we're talking about using simple common sense; like a wise old time American farmer.from a generation or two ago?
Would a wise old farmer say? "Sounds like lawyer talk (CDC). They're giving out drugs to people who can't afford them and don't need them, a lot of them are just getting high. And they're making a fortune. A doctor makes 10 times what the average hard working guy makes or more. It ain't right."
Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies
"Painkiller-funded researchers helped fuel America's deadly addiction to opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin. These academics, with quiet funding from major pain pill firms, encouraged doctors to over-prescribe these drugs for a range of pain relief issues, leading to where we stand today as the world's biggest consumer of painkillers and the overdose capital of the planet. What does it say about medical academia today that many of that painkiller-funded researchers are now standing in the way of a safer alternative: smoking a joint."
What's more, currently, the initial screen for Marijuana can be brutally inaccurate. False positives are reported in more than 20% of cases. AND. False positives are also reported in more than 20% of cases. In the past, how many innocent (as if smoking weed should be a punishable offense in the first place) patients were randomly and falsely stigmatized, as the CDC See further reading for details about MMJ false positive testing.
Let's hope that the pragmatic nature of the Pharmaceutical business will be balanced by the many sincere Americans in Washington that are pushing to give Medical Marijuana and the needy patients a fair shake.
LOOKING THROUGH ROSE COLORED GLASSES
Washington Politicians Battling for MMJ
“We would like to encourage the study of the effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal. We would like to know, what is the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths "
- Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a letter to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden (paraphrase).
Senator Warren's inquiry is backed up by fact. In every State that has legalized Medical Marijuana, death from Opiates overdose has gone down, down, down. This meter is a very definitive one. Death from long term Opiate use is by far a much bigger issue and the effect of Medical Marijuana on this blight is harder to meter. However, there is no doubt, that cutting excessive and abusive consumption of Opiates will result in less fatalities.
Thank you Plato for the power of simple deductive reasoning.
- There was a 25% reduction in prescription painkiller death in states where Marijuana was a legalize option for treatment. " - 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine
CAL NORML happy with Feds - No more Testing MMJ Routinely
"We applaud the CDC's reasoned approach to the use of urine testing and its drawbacks when used on pain patients, Considering that opioid overdose deaths are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana programs, we are sorry the agency apparently didn't read the letter Elizabeth Warren recently sent to its chief calling for marijuana legalization as a means of dealing with the problem of opiate overdose." - Ellen Komp, Deputy Director of California NORML
That letter by Sen. Warren encouraged the CDC to adopt the guidelines and its restrictive approach to opioids “as soon as possible,” but also encouraged the agency to further study the impact legalization of medical and recreational marijuana could have on opioid overdose deaths.
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FURTHER READING - FEDERAL AGENCY TELLS DOCTORS THEY DON'T NEED TO TEST FOR POT
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