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Benzodiazepines (the proper term) incorporates a number of well-known brand-name drugs, Xanax probably being the most famous. They are basically intended and work well for short term problems. Fortunately, they seem to be highly addictive. And so the short-term tends to last forever or until you die, whichever comes first. Let me read to you what the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which as you might guess is not one of my favorite government bureaucracies, advancing addiction science. This is from two years ago, March, 2018: More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines, a type of prescription said commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia. Are you getting less anxious or feeling better already? No. Benzodiazepines sometimes called benzos, while only by their family and friends. We have to visit Uncle Benzo! Worked to calm and sedate a person by raising the level of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. I thought she was a Hungarian film star. Anyway, in the brain, common benzodiazepines indicate diazepam valium, Xanax and Klonopin. I’m not going even try to pronounce their clinical names; those are only used in family gatherings anyway.
Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. However, between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67 percent: from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. If you read further, you might OD. Or worse, you might need a benzo, by the time you get through reading this stuff. The really strange thing about stuff out of the National Institute of Drug Abuse. You start reading about opioids… but wait a minute… This was about benzos. In the world we live in, medically prescribed drugs sometimes do not always come from the most legal sources.
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But you’ve got prescriptions for benzos and you’ve got prescriptions for opioids and you get 50,000 people dead from opioids. They didn’t bring out the number of people that were killed by the benzos. But the fact is, we’re dealing with illegal drugs here. On the other hand, no, we’re not. We’re dealing with legal drugs. Well, the fentanyl comes in from China. Or, can we blame the Mexicans for this? Oh, it’s the Mexicans’ fault. That’s why God invented Mexicans. So we’d have somebody to blame for our drug problem. And now we’ve got the Chinese, too. They send this fentanyl and the flu? Well, yeah, but the other thing is, is that we don’t worry about it because the government is going to take care of it. Really? Is all of this going on? Oh, did I mention that we have arrested I think 22 million people on possession of marijuana now? How many people have died from marijuana overdoses last year versus how many people die from opiate overdoses? Fifty thousand to zero. What kind of ratio is that? I was never very good at math, but I think that really doesn’t reflect well on opioids.
By the way, all of those drugs are in some context or other medically approved. None of them are in schedule one like marijuana? Oh, yes, this is what we call science. What is science? How much is your grant for? One of the things to look for when you see a news article about marijuana is does the article, in fact, acknowledge that the federal government still limits research on cannabis?
You can do research on heroin. You can do research on fentanyl. You know, all of this can be done, but you cannot do research on cannabis. Ports of science in the modern world. We may disagree about this interpretation of that interpretation. There are a lot of very complex questions. Science as a process is essential to the workings of the modern world. You can interpret philosophy. But science is essential to the workings of our world. And anytime that someone blocks research, blocks science, and then especially if they do not have the intellectual honesty to say that the government is blocking research and they talk about science and they don’t mention that the government is blocking research, they don’t acknowledge this whole process. Then what is the purpose of science? How is science working in this process? It is, in fact, an instrument of power and it is an instrument of power over you.
As American seniors, we’ve lived all of our lives with this. That butter’s good; butter’s bad. Salt’s good; salt’s bad. Sugar’s good; sugar’s bad. At least one thing has remained consistent throughout all of this: marijuana has been bad. And now, when we get a bit further along in life, where aches and pains and serious injuries and illnesses and so on, really are not simply a distant threat, but a real current threat. We are concerned about the costs of medicine because it is twice as expensive in the U.S. as it is any place else the world and often times, multiples. And so many of these drugs have terrible side effects. This is not a cultural issue. My generation, we thought that marijuana was a cultural issue. Beginning with the AIDS epidemic, we really began to see in public, this is not a cultural issue.
This is today. If you are a senior, especially here in America, at any age, if you’re a human being of any age, but particularly senior Americans, the subject of marijuana is a subject matter of life and death. And it is also a matter of the quality of life and death. We’re all going to die. Are we going to die in agony with something that the government has approved? Or are we going to die in peace with something that God made. That is the choice that every senior American is going to face, inevitably. Think about that and pray on it.
Richard Cowan is a former National Director of NORML, and is an advocate for CBD usage in the seniors.