Cannabis as an Alternative to Opiates:According to the CDC in the past twenty years there has been over 750,000 deaths from drug overdoses, of these overdoses two thirds involved an opioid. Opiate addiction has been a growing problem over the years with overdoses increasing around six times since 1999. This growing epidemic is not one that only pertains to the underground world of illegal drug use, thirty two percent of opiate related deaths were from prescription opiates.Opiates have been widely prescribed for all types of pain from wisdom tooth removal to broken bones. With few alternatives, especially ones that provide the same amount of relief as opiates do, doctors are left with no choice as to what they prescribe their patients in pain. Because of this, doctors are contributing to an epidemic that is only getting worse.Looking at alternatives, Cannabis is one that could provide a solution without the unwanted risk that comes with opiates. Cannabis has been used for centuries for pain relief and several other medicinal benefits, and with a lethal dose that is physically unattainable it is a much safer alternative to opiates. Cannabis works in some of the same pathways as opiates do to inhibit pain. In a study done at the University of California, Berkeley, participants that were surveyed reported cannabis provided relief on par with their other pain medication.

Cannabis is not for everyone, however there are plenty of people who could benefit from its ability to relieve pain. The Opioid epidemic is a huge problem, in fact ninety-one Americans die each day from an overdose. Cannabis may only be a piece of the solution; however, it is a step in the right direction in the fight to lower the death rate from overdosing. Shamans in native Asia and the old world have used cannabis for thousands of years in spiritualistic rituals as well as for its medicinal properties. People have known about the pain-relieving properties of cannabis for centuries, if more research is put its benefits it could help in reducing the constantly increasing overdose rates.