Marijuana Vs. Fentanyl: Which One Best Fights Pain?

One Canadian pharmaceutical company intends to find out

Photo by Jorge Vasconez via Unsplash

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that medical marijuana could be a reliable treatment for chronic pain conditions. But a lack of ironclad science and legal issues in most parts of the world has prevented the herb from being embraced wholeheartedly by the healthcare community.

Instead, doctors have been on a pill kick for the past couple of decades, doling out thousands of prescriptions for dangerous opioid painkillers. Not only has this trend caused problems with addiction, it has also contributed tragic numbers of overdose deaths. Many have asked: Is it necessary to treat pain with hard drugs that come with such savage repercussions? Well, one Canadian pharmaceutical company intends to find out, according to a report from the Cowichan Valley Citizen.

Ontario-based Tetra Bio-Pharma intends to roll up their sleeves in the coming months to learn more about cannabis versus pain. Specifically, the company will open up a clinical trial that will dig deeper into whether marijuana or fentanyl is more effective at combating the pain often experienced by patients with cancer and other debilitating conditions.

Researchers believe their findings will show that cannabis can hold its own when compared with one of the world’s most potent opioids. The hope is that with the right kind of data, more members of the medical community will start to recognize medical marijuana as an effective pain reliever.

“Medical cannabis may help reduce the use of drugs like fentanyl for treating breakthrough and chronic pain,” CEO Dr. Guy Chamberland said in a news release. “However, unrefuted scientific data on its safety and effectiveness that will satisfy regulators, professional groups and insurers is what’s missing.”

Canada recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. There is some belief that the country could become of the leading medical marijuana research hubs in the world. And those with the power to make it happen aren’t wasting any time. The Canadian government has already put its seal of approval on the company’s clinical trial and it is being overseen by the research firm Sante Cannabis, according to the Citizen.

This is predicted to be the first of many Canadian studies looking into the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant.

Perhaps the United States government should take note. Over half the nation has some kind of medical marijuana law on the books, yet the big dogs in Washington continue to hinder research opportunities. Even after some of the leading scientific minds in the land have admitted that pot is an effective treatment for pain. Meanwhile, around 60,000 people drop dead each year from an opioid overdose. The Feds still don’t seem to have any idea how to manage the opioid problem.

Canada has taken a proactive approach to this scourge.

Over the summer, Health Canada imposed restrictions on the marketing tactics used by opioid manufacturers, and some provincial governments have even filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical firms to help offset the costs for dealing with it. Tetra Bio-Pharma hopes to inspire doctors, insurance companies and others in the healthcare field to see how cannabis might be a viable solution.

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