- Christopher Smith, Editor-in-Chief
Should Drug Addiction Be Reclassified as Chronic Pain?
Whenever we see a caduceus, we are reminded of the ongoing dialogue surrounding the cannabis industry about whether it's a drug or a drug. In other words, whether it's a medicine or a substance with potential for abuse.
This duality is experienced in each of the 29 states and the District of Columbia, which have approved medicinal cannabis first to serve those with serious medical conditions, and then those 8 who have approved recreational cannabis as a completely separate idea.
As we've tried to make clear, the American Cannabis Report is missioned to support the complete legalization of medicinal cannabis across the US by removing it from Schedule I of the DEA Controlled Substances List. In accomplishing this mission, we believe it's important to ask questions about cannabis' continued DEA-relegation (many of which see rhetorical)
And while we also support 100% legal regulated recreational cannabis (unfettered access by adults, safety of product, hundreds of thousands of job, enhanced tax revenues for schools and public safety, elimination of black market violence, reduction of the prison industrial complex), it's not our main focus. Others can fight that fight, and they should. It's time.
So, to the issue of drug abuse. Seems to us that, like any medicine, there's the potential for abuse of cannabis by a person with a certain set of needs. Additionally, it seems to us that drug addiction is a form of chronic pain. And chronic pain is a legal use for cannabis in every legal state.
So we googled "medical definition of chronic pain", and scanned down to a link to a Mayo Clinic website page. Here's what we found, in brief:
There are two major categories of pain. Pain can be short term (acute) or long term (chronic):
Acute pain is a severe or sudden pain that resolves within a certain amount of time. You might feel acute pain when you have an illness, injury or surgery.
Chronic pain is persistent, lasting for moncths or even longer. Chronic pain is considered a health condition in itself.
"With chronic pain, you might not know the reason for the pain. For example, an injury has healed, yet the pain remains — and might even become more intense. Chronic pain can also occur without any indication of an injury or illness."
This seems to be a fairly close definition of the experience of many people addicted to drugs of all kinds. Their pain is psychological/emotional, but equally chronic and unrelenting.
Which brings us to Jesse Ventura. To paraphrase (without losing the inherent meaning of what he said)
"Medical marijuana helps people who are sick... I challenge anyone in government: What right do you have to tell someone what they can or cannot use if they have cancer [substitute "chronic pain"]? Do you have a medical license? What right do you have to turn sick people into criminals...?"
Image source: Soul Science website