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The Weedsmith Series

Opioid Crisis: The Weedsmith with Amanda Reiman

We’ve all heard of The Opioid Crisis. This week, listen to how overproduction and overprescription are affecting rural communities in the US, according to Chief Knowledge Officer at New Frontier Data/founder at Personal Plants, Amanda Reiman, on Grassland’s latest episode of The Weedsmith. The Weedsmith runs Wednesdays on Grasslands LinkedIn and Instagram pages.


Ricardo Baca:

You are listening to The Weedsmith, a show about modern cannabis thought leadership. I’m your host Ricardo Baca and today I'm thankful and excited to be sitting across from my friend Amanda Reiman. The research is telling us cannabis is a potential exit drug for the more harmful and deadly opioids but we know that cannabis is a medicine for a very limited number of conditions. Cannabis helps pain, so of course, why aren't we having a more realistic conversation in this country about helping pain with cannabis instead of oxycodone?

Amanda Reiman:

Pharmaceutical companies. That’s absolutely why. The United States makes up 25 percent of the world’s population and we consume 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone. This is our method. This is what we’ve decided and what the system has set up to support as the Number 1 intervention for pain. I’ve been looking into how this impacts rural communities especially now that I live in one, and rural communities have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. And part of that is because they don't have access to alternatives. They may have to drive several hours to get acupuncture but they have to drive ten minutes to get Vicodin. They may have public insurance policies that cover Vicodin and don’t cover massage or other types of treatment. And they definitely don’t cover cannabis. So I think that we’re seeing an overprescription and an overproduction of opiates, and we’re seeing them being flooded into small rural towns. Sometimes you’re seeing 5, 6, 7 prescriptions per man, woman and child in that town, and then we’re seeing very little intervention to come in and figure out how to better raise up the healthcare opportunities for these populations. Once we've figured out how to make money off something, we just exploit it to death. And once that happens and people start to get involved and there's an industry that grows up around it, it becomes so hard to disentangle it and shut it down. 
One of the biggest issues in cannabis reform are the pharmaceutical companies. One of the biggest issues in hemp reform are the gas companies and the paper and lumber companies. I mean, you just have to follow the money. I know that that is cliché to say but it's so true, especially in America.

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