Tag Archives: Big Pharma

DEA Delays Kratom Ban, More Senators Object To Process And ‘Unintended Consequences’

This is an update to my first post about kratom, dated August 30, 2016.  A follow-up by David Kroll on Forbes, shows that the DEA is listening to some of our representatives in government who are listening to their constituents.

kratom plant

Mr. Kroll states:

I was on the phone today [September 30, 2016] with DEA spokesperson Russ Baer when the clock struck 5:00 pm on the East Coast without a final order from the agency making two chemicals from kratom Schedule I controlled substances. Baer said that the plan to place the plant alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, onto the most restrictive classification of drugs of abuse and public health risk is still in progress and “will come sooner rather than later.”

The alkaloids have been known for over a decade to possess some modest opioid actions but their potential benefit for patients with chronic pain and substance dependence was overlooked in the notice of intent to place the botanical chemicals in the same class as heroin, LSD and mescaline.

Meanwhile today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a two-page letter to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg calling for the agency to delay this scheduling order. The Senators objected to the emergency, temporary scheduling order that could be enacted within 30 days without “a robust process of stakeholder input and discussion of medical, public safety and scientific considerations.”

In the intervening 30 days, kratom advocates and researchers have voiced concern that the botanical dietary supplement does indeed have legitimate medical uses, although not as an FDA-approved botanical drug. Most vocal on the scientific side have been researchers at Columbia University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The teams have independently and collaboratively published two papers on kratom-derived chemicals and their potentially beneficial constellation of complex actions on human opioid receptors.

Columbia associate research scientist, Andrew Kruegel, PhD, was specifically cited in the Booker-Gillibrand-Wyden letter to DEA as he led an 11-scientist letter of objection to kratom scheduling that was submitted to congressional representatives on September 2. Kruegel is also first author on a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in May showing the alkaloids in kratom act on opioid receptor signal transmission entirely differently [from] strong opioids such as morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone, posing less risk of respiratory depression.

This is the first time that Congressional elected officials have come out of their respective “closets” and are taking a stand against the strong-arm DEA when they have proof that the “plant” does have medical properties which are not as risky as the opioids.  In doing so, these Senators, in taking this heroic, progressive stand, are, in essence, thumbing their noses at Big Pharma and the FDA; telling them there is scientific evidence proving the benefits of kratom, and there is another way other than opioids, to help patients who are suffering with pain.

There is a big “however,” because Russ Baer, spokesperson for the DEA, still believes kratom’s inclusion on Schedule I “will come sooner rather than later.”

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Why Is Big Pharma Fighting Legalizing Marijuana?

 

MJ

It’s obvious.

We all know by now that most prescribed pain killers (especially opioids) are addictive, and yet, our government bows down to Big Pharma and continues to allow clinicians to prescribe them indiscriminately.

Many, many committees, commissions, agencies , etc., have been holding meetings to discuss this problem.  Has anything been done?  Of course not.

All the “conclusions” of these “get-togethers” have amounted to: ZERO.

Now, we have something else to throw into the “pot.”

There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption.

Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.

Medical marijuana is being used for medicinal purposes and not for “recreational” purposes.  There is this misconception held by very conservative groups:  medical marijuana will be used for recreational purposes or will lead to recreational marijuana use in order to get “high.”  Medical marijuana is used as medicine to relieve pain and other symptoms of chronic and/or serious medical conditions.

fewer pills

The graph above, published by Bradford and Bradford, Health Affairs, July 2016, sheds much light on the impact the use of medical marijuana has had and continues to have, on addictive drug use.

Let’s get on with it, elected officials!  Let the light shine through, and give our ill citizens availability to this plant that has many healing qualities, especially relief from many types of pain.  Some of your colleagues have seen the light and passed state laws allowing prescribing of medical marijuana.  Until the federal government passes a national law or properly amends the scheduling of marijuana, I hope more states will join the almost 30 states which have already passed marijuana laws.

Source:  Article in the The Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham

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