Let’s face it. Americans are in pain. In 2018, sales for the top 10 over the counter pain pills reached nearly $3,000,000,000. If you’re quick with numbers, you might be thinking that $3,000,000,000 really isn’t that much when you consider the population of the US is over 300,000,000. And, for those of you not so good at math, that’s just $10 per person spread out over 12 months. That’s less than $1 per month. Of course, this one little data point isn’t the whole story.
What about people who aren’t finding relief in traditional over the counter products such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol)? These people often ask their doctors for something stronger. And, for the past few decades, more powerful pain relief usually means prescription opioids such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Demerol (just a few of the various brand names from a long list of different types of opioids).
Getting back to the numbers, prescriptions for opioids peaked at just over 80 prescriptions per 100 people between 2010 and 2012. This doesn’t mean that 80% of the population were prescribed opioids. Some of those people received multiple prescriptions throughout these years. In 2017, the number of prescriptions dropped to 58 per 100 people. This certainly seems like an improvement, but it still represents around 174,000,000 opioid prescriptions in 2017.
Going back to a population comparison, that’s 174,000,000 prescriptions written to 300,000,000 people.
But, if these drugs are working, then what’s the problem? I certainly want everyone to live without chronic pain and I would imagine that you do as well. Opioids have been around since the introduction of Morphine in 1800’s (or, if you want to go back even further, then the use of Chinese opium predates Morphine). Generations of Americans have successfully used this class of drugs for pain relief. I recall receiving a tiny prescription for Vicodin when my wisdom teeth were extracted in 1990. Then earlier this year I was prescribed Hydrocodone after breaking my leg. Both times, these drugs seemed to help ease my pain and discomfort.
So, then what is the problem? We’ve all heard news reports about an “Opioid Crisis”. As it turns out, opioids are among the most addicting drugs available today. And, overuse of these drugs can and is deadly. In the US, approximately 130 people die from an opioid overdose every day. Of these, roughly 35% obtained the drugs through a doctor’s prescription. So, the remaining 65% are likely getting the drugs through illegal channels. Therefore, the problem is bigger than the recorded deaths. This addiction is fueling illegal drug trade and all the other crimes which often accompany addiction and drug trafficking. Translating this burden into dollars, the CDC estimates that the total cost of this drug misuse is around $78,500,000,000 annually.
To fight this epidemic, doctors have been urged to scale back on opioid prescriptions and patients have been urged to look for alternative therapies when possible. Many of these patients are turning to natural products such as Kratom, CBD, and Arnica. Of these, there is no doubt that CBD leads the way in sales and in the number of research papers testifying to its pain relieving capability.
In an unreported study conducted in San Antonio, two pain management doctors asked a few dozen patients to replace their opioid prescription with CBD Isolate capsules. Roughly 80% of these patients reported reductions in pain and some even reported that the CBD worked so well that they were able to discontinue use of their prescription medication. This is great news for those who wish to move to a more natural way to manage their pain.
Aside from the reported effectiveness of CBD Isolate for pain relief, the other benefit is that there are thousands of CBD brands which are readily available almost everywhere, without a prescription or a connection to a black market drug dealer. And, there appears to be no risk of overdose. Some clinical trials have reported giving test participants thousands of milligrams in a single dose without any observable side effects.
Yes, Americans are in pain. And, this “Pain Crisis” has led to a “Drug Crisis”. Fortunately, a greater number of Americans are waking up to the reality that prescription drugs may not be the best long term solution. Until we identify and eliminate the root causes of all this pain, natural products like CBD Isolate may prove to be the best long term option.
Do you deal with chronic pain? Have you been on opioids? Have you tried CBD or other natural solutions?
Please share your experiences below, in the comments section.