I’m a physician from California. I provided my first Medical Cannabis recommendation in 1998. That’s 25 years ago. The patient was in chronic pain. He handed me his prescription opiates and said, “I don’t need these anymore.” That’s a rare statement from a chronic pain patient. Most are addicted to prescription opioids and usually ask for more. I asked the patient, “How are you managing your pain.” And he replied, “I use Cannabis. I just need your recommendation.”
So, 25 years later I’m reading a post from WPDE ABC 15 News in South Carolina and see it considers news that Cannabis replaces opioids and helps fight addiction.
We are in an age of rapid information. Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok send images and messages around the world in an instant. However, the people who produce this news show appear to think it’s newsworthy that Cannabis replaces opioids and fights addiction.
The article goes on to explain that 37 states have legalized Medical Cannabis and several of those states designated Opioid Use Disorder as a qualifying condition. Meaning, Cannabis can be used to fight addiction. Apparently, the people of South Carolina are aware that most of the United States has already realized the benefits of Cannabis. It has just taken them a little longer to realize the same, like 25 years longer.
Matthew Campbell, C.O.O. of Cannabetter Farm out of Myrtle Beach South Carolina sells Delta-8 blunts and CBD flowers. He says, “Generally, it’s prescription opioids., Percocet, stuff like that. You hear people coming in who don’t want to take that stuff anymore because its damaging to their bodies. You hear about people that stop taking all kinds of medicine.”
So, I am feeling like I’ve just come out of a time machine 25 years in the past. I look around and, no, I just in my kitchen reading this story from ABC news.
“According to Recovery Research Institute, a Harvard addiction treatment center, Cannabis might have benefits to treat opioid addiction, but it has yet to receive FDA approval.” Now I get it. The good people of South Carolina are just waiting for the FDA to tell them Cannabis is safe. After evidence of thousands of years of Cannabis use and a toxicity profile that is more benign than aspirin or Tylenol, they prefer to wait. Hence the time machine perspective.
South Carolina state senator Greg Hembree (District 28) says that FDA approval is crucial because politicians are not medical doctors. “If the research supports FDA approval, all you need is FDA approval, and I’m 1000% for it,” said Senator Hembree. The FDA has been pretty clear that they won’t proceed with Cannabis regulation without a federal act from Congress.
Hembree feels he sees too many lobbyists – people with commercial interests – advocating for Medical Cannabis. “I would rather debate recreational Cannabis,” he says, “at least we know that’s an honest debate. That’s straight up. I wouldn’t vote for it. But, if the general assembly voted for that, I wouldn’t feel bad about that.” Rather than allowing patients to benefit without FDA approval, Hembree prefers to wait.
A Medical Cannabis bill passed through South Carolina’s House committee this last month. Known as the Compassionate Use Act, the same name given to California’s bill 25 years ago, it includes conditions, such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, Autism, and terminal illness. The bill will now head to Senator Hembree and the state senate floor. We all know that Senator Hembree is not going to vote for it. He would rather wait until the FDA approves Cannabis as safe before any dying patients in South Carolina have access to it. God forbid, they die high.
So, I’m back from my visit to South Carolina. I hope things work out there. For those of you who enjoy historical trips, I recommend reading South Carolina news. Meanwhile, those who live in the other states are handing over their opiates and recovering from addiction.
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,