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Worse Than Fentanyl? New Opioid Isotonitazene Deepens Opioid Issue



Isn’t it enough that fentanyl exists? We’ve got people dropping like flies in the US and beyond, with a lot of these deaths attributable to the extremely powerful opioid. Now it looks like an even more potent opioid, isotonitazene, might make the already awful opioid situation, even worse.

What is isotonitazene?

Isotonitazene – aka Iso – is an opioid drug, derived from benzimidazole, an aromatic organic compound. It’s in the nitrobenzimidazoles chemical classing of opioids, which makes it structurally different than other opioids like fentanyl. This drug is thought to be more potent than fentanyl slightly, and about 2.5X the strength of hydromorphone – often more recognizable under its trade name Dilaudid.

Its said that isotonitazene is 20-100 times more powerful than fentanyl, which is about 100X stronger than morphine (which goes in line with isotonitazene being 500X morphine). One truth is, as very little research exists on the compound, the specifics are unclear. Another truth is, it was not isotonitazene that was originally taken off the street in 2019, but a structural analogue called etonitazene, which has shown to provide 1000X the analgesia level in mice than morphine, but only about 60X the potency level in humans.

Isotonitazene is said to have half the potency of etonitazene, and is expected to have that same discrepancy between animals and people. If the original studies were done on animals, then the 500-1000X stronger than morphine might simply relate to animal studies. Most medical sources say it’s only slightly stronger than fentanyl.

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Isotonitazene, as an opioid, has similar characteristics to fentanyl and other opioids, in that it relieves pain, as well as providing the same side effects of nausea, itchiness, and the possibility of overdose due to the depression of the respiratory system. On August 20th, 2020, the DEA did something it has so far refused to do with other opioids like fentanyl, and put isotonitazene in Schedule I on the Controlled Substances list.

Why it classified this drug as 100% illegal, and not the ones more currently responsible for the growing number of opioid overdose deaths, is not immediately clear. Though it fits into the opioid class of drugs, its considered a ‘designer drug’ because it’s synthetic; though realistically, all other pharmaceutical opioids (called synthetic opioids) are also therefore technically designer drugs in the same way. So once again, making that designation for this specific compound, and not the others, makes very little sense.

San Francisco responds to isotonitazene

So far, what’s the damage with isotonitazene? A report earlier this month out of San Francisco expressed the thought that this new opioid on the streets of the California city, could greatly exacerbate the current opioid situation. Much like fentanyl, its being found as an addition to heroine and other opioid products, as a means to increase potency; and is used to make fake drugs.

There aren’t good overdose statistics specifically related to the drug yet, which is something authorities are keeping an eye on moving forward. As an opioid stronger than fentanyl, which would boast similar addiction rates, the unfortunate expectation is that deaths should increase proportionally to whatever increase in use it undergoes.

For a city like San Francisco, it’s making authorities nervous, as the city had in the neighborhood of 620 overdose deaths last year, with 72% of them attributed to fentanyl (and, I imagine, other synthetic opioids). This, of course, is representative of the overall growing fatalities related to these drugs in many places.

Said Matt Dorsey, District 6 Supervisor, “I just want to make sure that our city is set up to monitor it and to be testing for it.” He sent a letter to the medical examiner in regards to this, saying, “I just want to make sure that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has everything it needs to test for every potential drug that’s costing the lives of anyone in San Francisco.”

Where else is Isotonitazene causing problems?

Opioids might be known most for their damage in America, but the reality is that heroin and synthetic opioids cause problems in many countries, and isotonitazene is now a part of this. Though the article about San Francisco came out in February 2023, Isotonitazene has been causing problems elsewhere in the world already.

One of the interesting things about Isotonitazene is that while it was seen in several cases from 2019 – through 2020, it was replaced by other similar opioids upon the US putting the drug in Schedule I. Perhaps this is an indication that if the US wants to get rid of fentanyl, illegalizing it might help. Not to ignore that isotonitazene incidences were replaced by another similar drug metonitazene; but the situation does indicate that putting the effort into a formal illegalization, could help if there are support services to keep patients from picking up another opioid instead.

A 2021 study called Emerging characteristics of isotonitazene-involved overdose deaths: a case-control study investigated isotonitazene deaths from January 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020, in two locations: Cook County, Illinois and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. It compared it to other synthetic opioids. In these counties, there were 40 overdose deaths from isotonitazene, and 981 from other synthetic opioids. The study noted that isotonitazene deaths usually occurred with other medications, more frequently than the other synthetic opioids; with particularly large concurrent use of the benzodiazepine flualprazolam.

Opioid overdose rates
Opioid overdose rates

Another report from UNODC in 2020 said that isotonitazene was only responsible for eight deaths in the US between June 2019 and December 2019. Either these numbers are lower than reality, the ones above are higher than reality, or the drug gained popularity greatly between 2019 and 2020.

The UK is another location where a little data does exist on deaths. According to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Isotonitazene was related to 24 deaths in 2021. In comparison, 2021 saw 2,219 opioid deaths in the UK (about 45% of all overdoses for the year).

A case report out of Switzerland in 2021 identified three different cases of deaths due to Isotonitazene, though in each case it was used with other drugs. In two cases this involved benzodiazepines among other drugs, and one included alcohol.

Right now, the stated cases are the only ones to give death statistics for the drug. Though it seemed to have its glory period between 2019 and 2021, the recent incidence of it in San Francisco signals that it either is coming back, or the article was more a hype piece about a drug that really isn’t seen often. Given the popularity of opioids, and the desire to get more and powerful versions, its not strange to think its making a reappearance.

The opioid epidemic

Opioids have become one of the bigger health concerns, with the largest issues still in the US, though countries like the UK and Canada certainly have their own issues. The choice by British Columbia in Canada to decriminalize all drugs is in direct relation to the growing opioid issue.

Even so, the US is where the meat of the problem is found. From 2019 to 2020 to 2021, overdose rates went from 73,000 to 93,000 to 107,622. And how many of these deaths did opioids account for? While we were never given an estimate for 2021 that I can find, its expected that over 68,000 of the 93,000 from 2020 were opioid-related, and over 48,000 of the 73,000 from 2019 were as well. Following the trajectory, it could be that close to 100,000 deaths in 2021 were from opioids.

It will be time before we have 2022 numbers, but nothing indicates a decrease, and everything indicates an increase. What did come out earlier this year, is New York City data from 2021 on opioid overdoses. 668 lost their lives that year to drug overdoses, and it was established that just fentanyl (minus other synthetic opioids) was responsible for 80% of these. Overdose numbers for 2021 were 78% higher than in 2019. This makes it the most common drug to show up in overdose scenarios, for five years straight.

The problem is so bad, and is so squarely put on the pharmaceutical companies involved, that in February 2022, Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, offered Native American communities $590 to settle lawsuits against them for their drugs destroying so many communities. On a global level, the payout number was settled at $26 billion for the same companies.

Multi-billions to be paid by pharma companies over opioids
Multi-billions to be paid by pharma companies over opioids

And while they give the ridiculous line that these payouts don’t constitute guilt: Johnson & Johnson quote: “This settlement is not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing and the company will continue to defend against any litigation that the final agreement does not resolve,” the day I see a pharmaceutical company choose of their own volition to give up that much of their profits… well, you see where I’m going with this.

Those lawsuits aren’t even the end of it. That announcement about the $26 billion, came before another settlement with the entire state of Idaho. In this one, the same companies are paying yet another $119 million. And that’s just Idaho, imagine if the rest of the US states did the same. Maybe some are now.

It doesn’t even stop there. For their part in it, the pharmacy companies CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart were up against more than 300 lawsuits for their participation in the opioid game. And as of November 2022, they’re set to pay out $13 billion.

Perhaps the grossest issue of all? The US government, and any government that allows the drugs through regulation; is not only saying this is all okay (despite whatever lines they use to sound otherwise), they’re promoting the problem further. Hell, last year, it came up to lower guidelines for opioid prescriptions. I mean, is there a better way to say the government is complicit? And all this while ketamine has repeatedly shown comparable abilities for pain control, long lasting effects well beyond treatment, and no addiction or real overdose potential.


Do we have to worry about isotonitazene? With the current opioid issue, you better believe it. The one comforting fact, perhaps, is that at least with this one, the US government was smart enough to actually make it completely illegal.

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Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Is cannabis addiction a treatable medical condition? According to one doctor, “cannabis addiction is a real and treatable medical condition.”

She claims the “cannabis legalization movement” has successfully pushed back against this narrative due to the drug war.

Fortunately, Dr. Salwan is not one of these old-school drug warriors. She knows cannabis doesn’t turn people into criminals and that cannabis prohibition has led to the mass incarceration of peaceful (mostly black) Americans.

Dr. Salwan represents the new school of drug warriors. The kind that promotes more opioids to wean people off opioids. That labels drug use as a “treatable medical condition” rather than an activity.

To her credit, Dr. Salwan recommends cognitive behavioural therapy as a solution to “cannabis use disorder” since that’s where the evidence leads her. (But not without mentioning the “promising” FDA medication that will “reduce cannabis cravings.”)

However, Dr. Salwan is on the education faculty for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. In other words – it is tough for Dr. Salwan to see substance use as anything but a medical condition.

What is Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is cannabis addiction a treatable medical condition? What is a “cannabis addiction,” anyway? “Cannabis use disorder” (CUD) is a topic we’ve covered before. It’s a myth that refuses to die.

The belief that outside forces determine our thoughts, behaviours, and actions is only becoming more prominent in the culture where neuroscientific theories of consciousness are accepted as “science” despite their philosophical shallowness.

But let’s get to the crux of Dr. Salwan’s argument. “To shake the collective disavowal of cannabis addiction,” she writes, “It helps to understand the clinical paradigm of all drug addictions, or substance use disorders (SUDs).”

So, whether we’re talking about cannabis, alcohol, or opioids, the hallmarks of SUD are always the same, categorized as the three Cs.

Craving: A strong desire to use the substance 

Consequences: Negative consequences of using the substance 

Control: A loss of control when consuming the substance (or in the pursuit of). 

Other residual SUD “symptoms” include developing a tolerance and experiencing withdrawals. But by this definition, nearly every American suffers from caffeine use disorder and a refined sugar addiction.

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Of course, “cravings” are just thoughts. Perhaps you’ve “craved” ex-partners when visiting areas that remind you of them. It’s a common human experience. You don’t have to associate your stream of consciousness with your ego and attach yourself to each and every thought.

Especially if you’re breaking a long-term drug habit (or trying to get over an ex).

Likewise, determining whether the consequences of your actions are negative is up to you. So-called “addiction experts” are supposed to be neutral, value-free scientists.

You could drink a case of beer every night. Destroy your liver, your marriage, turn your kids against you, lose your job and house, and end up living on the street. These all sound like negative consequences of drinking.

But if you frame the experience as positive, then who the hell are “addiction experts” to tell you otherwise? It may seem irrational to us, but many prefer to live on the street and use drugs like fentanyl.  

This fact of life is lost on many advocates of taxpayer-funded supply of “addiction medicine.” They want to dehumanize someone’s choices and consider them “mentally ill” because they don’t conform to specific social values.

I find it hard to believe that the left-wing advocates making this argument have ever read (or understood) Foucault. Although they’ll claim him as one of their own.

As for the loss of control – despite the persistence of this myth, it remains just that. A myth. No research worthy of the label “science” supports a loss of control.

Some Real Science to Drive Home the Fact 

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?
Gordon Alan Marlatt. 1941 – 2011

G. Alan Marlatt was an American-Canadian clinical psychologist and researcher in the field of addictive behaviours.

One of his most well-known studies helps answer whether “cannabis addiction” is a treatable medical condition.

Dr. Marlatt took a group of heavy drinkers who qualified as having alcohol use disorder. He separated them into two groups in two separate rooms.

He gave one group cocktails without alcohol. But the cocktails tasted as if they contained booze. He told this group the cocktail did have alcohol in it. Obviously, the participants reported cravings for more, kept drinking, and some even began behaving intoxicated.

He gave the other group cocktails that contained alcohol. But the drinks didn’t taste like alcohol, and he told the group there wasn’t any in the beverage. This group did not report cravings for more and did not binge drink to excess.

Others have replicated Dr. Marlatt’s study. The 3 C’s of addiction are not scientific concepts. They are a belief system of “public health” masquerading as scientific knowledge. 

Contradictions in Dr. Salwan’s Article

Dr. Salwan doesn’t seem aware of the contradictions in her article. For example, she writes it’s “heartening that the prevalence of cannabis addiction among U.S. adults remained below 2 percent from 2002 to 2017, even as cannabis use increased from 10 to 15 percent.”

But how does that make sense? Especially since the THC potency has increased. If the drug itself is causing addiction, shouldn’t higher use rates also increase addiction rates?

Dr. Salwan solves this issue by recognizing that cannabis has – more or less – been destigmatized. If you’re not losing your job or falling behind on the bills, who cares if you engage in wake-n-bakes or smoke weed every night after work? 

Destigmatization, says Dr. Salwan, is a “desired social outcome.” However, she believes it comes “at the expense of engagement in treatment,” where only 4 percent of people received CUD treatment in 2019 versus 9 percent in 2002.

Think about that. The number of people who have sought treatment for problematic cannabis use has dwindled, and she believes that’s a problem. 

If you make your money from “addiction medicine” and by promoting rehabs and treatment centres – then yes, people not viewing themselves as helpless addicts who need your paid expertise is a problem.  

This phenomenon of people viewing their cannabis habits as habits instead of an addiction is a step in the right direction. Only ideologues believe “cannabis addiction” is a treatable medical condition. 

FDA Drugs vs. Changing Your Mind

As mentioned, Dr. Salwan pays lip service to “promising” FDA drugs to remedy cannabis addiction or CUD. But, as she writes in the article, all evidence points to cognitive behavioural therapy (and others) being more helpful.

And it’s obvious why. These therapies tend to challenge an individual’s thought process and patterns of thinking rather than affirm how they feel and look for a “root cause” somewhere in their childhood.

Cannabis addiction is not a treatable medical condition because addiction is not real, and problems of the mind are not medical conditions.

Addiction is a social construct that feeds into itself.

Much like race. We’re all homo sapiens. But you can divide people by skin colour, create cultures based on these skin tones, and then propagate and control populations according to the beliefs and values of the various “in” and “out” groups you’ve created with this social construct.

Addiction is the same way. Whether it’s cutting back on cannabis, social media or trying to create positive habits like exercising and eating right.

You can recognize your free will and autonomy or believe your habits and preferences are a “disease” or “disorder” of the brain. That you’re masking some underlying cause that only years of therapy and a cocktail of pharmaceuticals will cure.

Dr. Salwan worries that people have been denied access to CUD treatment because of its illegality or because their “symptoms were trivialized.”

And indeed, we’re not trying to trivialize someone who feels addicted. It’s incredibly frustrating. But, like poor race relations stemming from government policy, school indoctrination, and media coverage, this poor relationship between drugs and consumers results from “addiction experts.”

Dr. Salwan’s framing of the issue does not help.

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

Is Cannabis Addiction a Treatable Medical Condition?

“Cannabis use disorder” is a concept created and reinforced by these so-called experts.

But what about people (i.e. “cannabis addicts”) who strongly prefer the herb with their actions but not in their speech?

It could be they think cannabis helps them cope with some traumatic past.

And it could be that some people just like to get fucked up. For whatever reason, they want to feel numb. And drugs are an effective way of bringing about that state.

But it’s a leap in logic to blame the substance. It confuses cause and effect. It’s putting the cart before the horse in every sense of the term.

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Chinese Heroin vs. Canadian Cannabis – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




In Canada, especially in Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s a battle between Chinese heroin (fentanyl) and Canadian cannabis. Outside the allowable parameters of the debate is the solution: how cannabis is used for rehabilitation and how to safely self-rehab with cannabis usage.

You can quit meth with cannabis rehab. Rehab for alcohol should include cannabis-based medicines. Or forget the rehab centre altogether.

Safely self-rehab with cannabis usage from the comfort of your home.

People are struggling with substance use. It’s not just people living on the street overdosing on Chinese heroin.

Many overdoses have been in homes where the victim is a regular working Joe or Jane enjoying their drug of choice after work. A tainted supply is poisoning them.

The obvious solution is to legalize all drugs and deal with the consequences as they arise. 

The only other alternative is the status quo: A tainted street drug supply killing people. And big pharma profiting from a “safe supply” funded by taxpayers and immune to criticism because of “Science” and “Public Health.”

Of course, there is another alternative. A made-in-Canada solution that:

  1. Empowers individuals to overcome their substance use problems
  2. Benefits Canadians economically and has little impact on the taxpayer
  3. Is a safer alternative to handing out free hydromorphone pills

Just as we look at specific parts of history and think, “How could they be so dumb?” Future historians will say the same about this period.

We have records amount of people overdosing on Chinese heroin. The obvious solution is to legalize all drugs so there’s a regulated supply. As well as looking into how cannabis is used for rehabilitation.

But these aren’t conversations “public health” wants to have.

How Cannabis is Used for Rehabilitation

Chinese heroin (fentanyl) and Canadian cannabis. How Cannabis is Used for Rehabilitation. Safely Self-Rehab with Cannabis Usage.

“Aren’t you just replacing one addiction with another?” is the common complaint about cannabis rehabilitation, especially self-rehab cannabis use.

But the very idea is patently absurd.

Human beings are creatures of habit. If you give up one habit, you’ll fill in the gaps with another. It’s impossible to be human without having habits. The key is to form habits that are healthy and make life worthwhile.

And suppose “public health” is right about cannabis and other drugs. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

Isn’t withdrawing from opioids far worse than doing the same with cannabis? Would you rather see people living on the street overdosing from Chinese heroin or blazed out of their minds on potent cannabis?

Does it not make sense to use cannabis as an “addiction medicine” until the person is free of harder drugs? Then, they can focus on eliminating their cannabis habit. (If they so choose).

That’s the essence of how cannabis is used in rehabilitation. It is part of the “harm reduction” paradigm doctors and researchers take seriously.

Withdrawing from opioids, meth, cocaine, etc., is painful. Cannabis alleviates pain and has no lethal overdose. Why is this even a debate?

The fact that “public health” still casts shadows over medical cannabis (and smoking cannabis) is criminal in the face of the opioid crisis.

Regarding Chinese heroin vs. Canadian cannabis, many in public health are doing more harm than good with their ideological anti-cannabinoid stance.

Public health will claim there needs to be more research. But as we’ll see, they’re just not looking hard enough. Or perhaps they don’t want to see the evidence even when presented right to them.

Safely Self-Rehab with Cannabis Usage?

It’s not just Chinese heroin (fentanyl) vs. Canadian cannabis. You can quit meth with cannabis rehab and overcome problematic alcohol drinking with cannabis. 

You can even overcome “behavioural addictions” like sex, porn, gambling, video games, or excessive phone usage with cannabis.

And you can safely self-rehab with cannabis usage.

Many believe rehabilitation (or rehab) is a structured and therapeutic process involving the latest medical, psychological, and social interventions to help individuals stop using drugs.

But not all rehabs are created equal. Some look for underlying causes and have the patient develop skills and support systems to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.

Others focus on preference changes. Some focus on behavioural therapy, while others provide a cocktail of pharmaceuticals as the solution.

The idea of “self-rehab” is not recognized among the “addiction experts.” There is room for “self-recovery” and “self-treatment,” but the experts insist on their professional help.

To be fair, some drugs require a physical detox. That isn’t something you want to self-administer.

But beyond physical detoxification, what good are the “addiction experts” populating various rehab centres?

Without their help (so goes the argument), an individual is prone to “relapse” since they don’t have the “tools” to manage “cravings” and “triggers.”

But this is all made-up language to describe habits.

“Addiction experts” have built up the allure of drugs so that, when they tell a patient they must never touch it again, they’re basically saying: “You’re going to have a supermodel in your bed every night for the rest of your life. But you can’t touch her.

A better approach would dispel the magic of Chinese heroin (or meth or alcohol). Ideally, the patient goes to bed feeling like not having the drug in their system is like sleeping with a supermodel.

Safely Self-Rehab with Cannabis Usage

Chinese heroin (fentanyl) and Canadian cannabis. How Cannabis is Used for Rehabilitation. Safely Self-Rehab with Cannabis Usage.
Photo credit: Trey Patric Helten

No matter the drug or activity, forgoing something you’ve made a habit out of is hard, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep.

That’s why many former “hard” drug users find relief with cannabis. It takes the edge off the opioid (or meth, alcohol, etc.) withdrawals and helps them sleep.

And once they’re free of the Chinese heroin, if they so choose, they can stop cannabis use as well. Aside from insomnia or boredom, there aren’t many cannabis withdrawal symptoms to watch out for.

Suppose you view your cannabis usage as an addiction medicine you will eventually wean off from. In that case, you probably won’t feel any withdrawal from cannabis at all.

Our culture tends to conflate what drugs do to the brain and body with what they do to the mind. And so far, research suggests drugs do not affect the mind.

Drugs change our physiological state. No one denies that. Cannabinoid or opioid receptors get activated; ethanol crosses the blood-brain barrier.

But the mind is entirely metaphysical. Often, we interpret the feeling in our brain and body as somehow changing the content of our thoughts. But that’s cultural conditioning reinforced by “public health” and “addiction experts.”

Once you separate your mind from your body, framing drug habits as choices becomes easier to manage. To the point that, if you so choose, you can moderate your use of Chinese heroin.

Chinese Heroin vs. Canadian Cannabis

This is what “public health” fails to understand.

Someone living on the street doing Chinese heroin isn’t doing it just for the physical effects. They likely have some underlying condition that they believe fentanyl is helping with.

And “addiction experts” are right there to cheer them on. Believing that fentanyl is helping, just not in the proper way.

If you want to safely self-rehab with cannabis usage, it’s best to throw away this paradigm completely. 

Drugs can’t relieve you from your thoughts. All they can do is affect your brain and body, which your autonomous mind interprets as relief.

So, if you’re physically withdrawing from Chinese heroin, then the physical effects of cannabis are a relief. But if you’re tempted to gamble, for example, and you use cannabis to “open up the third eye” and think of the situation objectively – that’s technically magic.

You’ve just interpreted the effects of cannabis to help you think through a problem. And there’s a good reason for it. 

THC is like the runner’s high. It’s relaxing, and when you’re physically relaxed, your mind becomes tranquil. New ideas sprout up, and you make connections you previously never noticed.  

You can achieve this effect from meditation or an intense workout. But cannabis is like an on-demand runner’s high without exerting yourself. No wonder it’s popular, especially among people trying to get off harder drugs.

Chinese Heroin vs Canadian Cannabis: A Made in Canada Solution

Chinese heroin (fentanyl) and Canadian cannabis. How Cannabis is Used for Rehabilitation. Safely Self-Rehab with Cannabis Usage.

As mentioned, there is a Made-in-Canada solution to the opioid crisis. And it doesn’t involve handing out more opioids.

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, researchers found CBD cannabis helped alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of heroin users.

Unlike observational studies correlating two or more variables, an RCT demonstrates cause and effect.

Other (not as rigorous) studies have found similar conclusions in cocaine, meth, and tobacco users. CBD helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Fortunately, Canada has a cannabis and hemp industry. We can mass produce CBD flower to the point that it’s less than a dollar per gram.

As one study put it,

Cannabinoid therapeutics offer further benefits of being available in multiple formulations, are low in adverse risk potential, and may easily be offered in community-based settings, which may add to their feasibility as interventions for – predominantly marginalized – crack-cocaine user populations.

But in Vancouver and other ravished areas of B.C., community-based cannabis clubs (like the Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club) are targeted by health authorities as criminal.

Canada can reverse course on the opioid crisis. We can tap into a – literal – homegrown solution and set an example for the world.

Instead, “public health” targets the community-based cannabis activists who are actually helping. Meanwhile, they defend Big Pharma’s profiteering under the guise of “safer supply.”

Any criticism of their ideology is considered “hate” and “misinformation.” But how could something be evidence-based if the program is immune to criticism?

How Cannabis is Used for Rehabilitation

We’ve outlined how cannabis is used for rehabilitation and the science behind it.

Every overdose death is blood on the hands of public health bureaucrats. We have the solution at our fingertips. In some places, we even have the political willpower.

The problem is these unelected, anti-Enlightenment, philosophically-inept “public health” bureaucrats who, since 2020, have become drunk on their own power.

The only way to solve the opioid crisis in the long term is to strip these people of their power and prestige. They are the priests and nuns of a civic religion called Science™. 

Don’t let the name confuse you with the scientific method. The two couldn’t be further apart.

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Legal Cannabis Means Cannabis Use Disorder, Says Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Legal cannabis in your state means higher rates of cannabis use disorder, says a new study published in JAMA Network Open.

The researchers quizzed 110,000 patients at Kaiser Permanente in Washington State on their attitudes towards cannabis. They asked five thousand of these patients about their cannabis use.

They included in the study only those who consumed in the last 30 days (1,500 people out of the 110,000).

Of course, one’s BS radar goes off right away. Since they only included those who consumed cannabis in the last thirty days, they’ve introduced a bias in estimating how prevalent “cannabis use disorder” is.

They’ve excluded casual and occasional consumers who do not develop “cannabis use disorder” (CUD). By excluding this group, the study can overrepresent individuals with higher cannabis use patterns, giving the illusion of higher rates of CUD.

But that’s not how some “experts” view the study. They think people underreport their cannabis use. Therefore, the study underestimates the prevalence of CUD.

“Science” has become a religion where studies have replaced holy scripture. But just as the Bible or Qur’an won’t provide insight into “cannabis use disorder,” neither does this published study.

Problems with the "Legal Cannabis = CUD" Study

According to this study, legal cannabis in Washington state leads to more cases of cannabis use disorder (CUD). And it’s not just in Washington.

A 2020 meta-analysis of cannabis use in the US, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany came to similar conclusions.

22% of cannabis users will develop CUD in their lifetime. CUD rose from 17.7% in Canada before legalization to 24.3% afterward.

But what does this mean? And how accurate is this information?

For example, this recent study out of Washington State oversampled specific subgroups (“racialized” minorities) to “improve” representation. But all they did was limit the study’s findings to populations with similar demographic characteristics.

Consider its other methodological problems.

Sampling Bias: As mentioned, the study’s authors ignored the data that didn’t fit. They’ve overestimated the prevalence of cannabis use disorder (CUD).

Self-Report Bias: This study relies on self-reported data not only for cannabis use but reasons for use. Self-reporting comes with various problems: recall bias, social desirability bias, misclassification, etc.

Cross-Sectional Design: The study employs a cross-sectional design, which may help eliminate bias. However, it does not establish causal relationships. This study can’t determine whether states with legal cannabis will result in higher rates of CUD. It can’t even establish a temporal relationship.

Confounding Variables: The study adjusts for some demographic factors (such as age, sex, and ethnicity), but they ignore socioeconomic status, mental health history, and access to healthcare. All of which would be important in establishing causal relationships between cannabis use and CUD.

Press X To Doubt

Press X To Doubt

This study tells us nothing objectively true about the world – Legal cannabis means higher rates of cannabis use disorder?

One can see the logic. As if there’s a flu virus, and covering your mouth with a cloth will help prevent the spread.

But sometimes, what seems evident isn’t true. The Earth appears flat, but it’s not. And face masks seem like they should work. But they don’t.

Likewise, there’s no causal relationship between legal cannabis and people having trouble controlling their use. Consider this study’s conclusions.

The study discusses the prevalence of cannabis use disorder, but, as mentioned, this is a cross-sectional study. It does not establish causality. The study’s conclusions imply that non-medical use directly causes CUD, but nothing in the actual research confirms it.

They led with their conclusions and threw out data that didn’t fit.

The study’s conclusion that “patients using for non-medical reasons most at risk of moderate to severe CUD” can only be interpreted as a direct causal relationship between cannabis and CUD.

Rather than what it actually is: a correlation influenced by various confounding factors. 

Likewise, the study overgeneralizes the findings. What’s true in Washington State may not be true elsewhere. But, as mentioned, other studies worldwide have come to similar conclusions.

So let’s not mince words: there are cannabis consumers out there who want to stop (or slow down, moderate) but feel like they can’t.

So what’s going on here? Is there a cause of CUD? Or perhaps there are reasons for this feeling of “cannabis use disorder.”

Reasons that an individual can discover from thinking clearly. Once they have done so, they can assess their cannabis use habits (contrary to this study’s worldview) from a mindset that doesn’t feel like a “disorder.”

What Is Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)?

What Is Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)?

Do you use cannabis for sleep? Maybe you don’t even like the feeling of THC. But a little gummy an hour before bed, you’re out like a light for eight hours.

Suppose there’s a cannabis workers’ strike or a hacker has shut down the central distribution centre. Suppose, for whatever reason, you run out of gummies and have to go a couple of nights without them.

You’re probably going to have trouble sleeping. Makes sense, right? According to the “experts” of this study, that’s cannabis use disorder.

Do you enjoy recreational cannabis after work? It’s an excellent way of relaxing and safer than drinking alcohol. Of course, if you make it a habit and then go a day or two without it, you may feel a little irritable. Maybe restless. Even nervous or depressed.

That’s CUD, according to the experts.

By this definition, nearly everybody suffers from “Caffeine Use Disorder.” But, there’s no outcry in the media over coffee consumption (despite its negatives for the brain and body).

Of course, caffeine has its benefits too. The same goes for cannabis. There are costs and benefits only you can determine. Cannabis is a substance without any innate power of its own.

But there’s money and power in perpetuating stereotypes that cannabis is addictive and dangerous. Millions have found relief in medical cannabis. Millions more are discovering its therapeutic attributes.

Peaceful and healthy cannabis consumption threatens not only the bottom line of pharma but also police budgets, public health, and other drug war propagandists. 

That’s why we’ve seen an uptick in studies warning about “cannabis use disorder.”

How to Solve Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

How to Solve Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

A cannabis habit is just that – a habit. The reported “brain changes” that drugs create are regular changes when you form habits.

Whether it’s smoking cannabis or playing the piano – the brain adapts and changes to make the process easier each time.

Nobody said breaking habits is easy. But are you framing it as a battle for your will? As a disorder or disease of the brain? Or as a preference you freely choose?

The prevalence of CUD is likely to grow as more states legalize cannabis. Not because cannabis is inherently addictive or because it destroys the brains of young people.

None of those things are true. Cannabis is a flower, and flowers can’t overpower your free will. 

But when the narrative of “experts” suggests the opposite, those who fall victim to their propaganda will act out what they believe to be true.

In other words, these “public health” experts are causing CUD. Through their attitudes and beliefs, they are creating the very thing they claim to be investigating.

This “cannabis use disorder” study is a testament to that fact. 

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