‘Iron Mike’ could deliver knockout punch against opioids

 ‘Iron Mike’ could deliver knockout punch against opioids

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson appears to be going for a knockout punch against health issues facing veterans. For this, Terrapin Care Station and “Iron Mike” agree.

According to the Blast, Tyson and two business partners have plans to build a “cannabis resort” on 40 acres of land in California City, Calif. The resort aims at not only producing high quality strains of THC and CBD, but also implementing cutting-edge technology to advance research on the health benefits of marijuana.

The ranch will place a focus on CBD research, a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits but does not make people feel the psychoactive effects associated with THC. It has been proven as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant and antipsychotic agent, with help in treating PTSD, a condition that disproportionately impacts veterans.

Medical cannabis also may act as a safer alternative to opioids, another health crisis that has significantly impacted veterans. The cannabis industry is positioned as a leader in driving awareness of safer alternatives to opioids. Through research and advocacy, the cannabis industry can identify alternatives to manage pain and chronic conditions and to help decrease overall deaths caused by the opioid crisis.

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, highlighting a drug epidemic that claimed more than 59,000 lives in 2016. A recent forecast concluded that as many as 650,000 people will die over the next 10 years from opioid overdoses.

Because evidence around cannabis as an alternative to opioids is largely anecdotal, it is critical to advance research. Projects such as the “cannabis resort” proposed by Tyson could prove beneficial in driving such studies.

Here’s what we know – studies are beginning to come out showing that cannabis can replace opioids in some cases. In fact, the start of legal marijuana sales in Colorado may have reversed a rising trend of prescription opioid overdose deaths in the state. Nearly one fewer person per month died of an opioid overdose in Colorado after the start of legal cannabis sales compared to before, according to a peer-reviewed study that appeared in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers have found a 6.5 percent decrease in monthly opioid deaths after legal recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado. A study in 2014 concluded that state medical marijuana laws were associated with lower opioid-overdose death rates. Rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped 23 percent where marijuana is legal for medicinal use; hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent. A study in the Journal of Pain found that cannabis use was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use in patients with chronic pain.

Much like Terrapin Care Station, Tyson sees the value in assisting the nation’s veterans. The former boxing champ has committed to helping the veteran community, with the company that operates his proposed resort comprised mainly of veterans.

In Pennsylvania, where Terrapin Care Station holds a medical marijuana grow/process license, the company has committed to hiring those who served the nation. Terrapin plans to hire a veteran workforce of 30 percent. And because of the region’s high population of veterans, Terrapin Care Station announced a $25,000 grant to stimulate the revitalization of Veterans Park in Lock Haven, Penn.

“The Medical Marijuana Program being implemented in Pennsylvania offers patients access to critical treatments for serious medical conditions. Veterans will remain one of our top concerns,” said Chris Woods, owner and chief executive of Terrapin Care Station. “The reason so many Pennsylvanians are registering to participate in the program is because there is a need to be filled. Terrapin Care Station is honored to play a role in fulfilling that need.”

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus

Peter Marcus served as the Senior Statehouse Reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette where he co-launched ColoradoPolitics.com, covering politics, the governor’s office, the Colorado Legislature, Congress, and federal, state and local governments. He joined in November 2016 from The Durango Herald. The Washington Post twice named Marcus one of the top state-based political and legislative reporters in the nation. He also has won over a dozen awards from the Colorado Press Association. In prior positions, Marcus worked for the Colorado Statesman, a Denver-based political weekly, and The Denver Daily News, a former free daily newspaper in Denver, where he covered City Hall, politics, and had an entertainment column. Before that, Marcus worked for the Longmont Times-Call. An Ithaca College graduate, Marcus studied journalism and creative writing, before moving to Colorado from New York in 2004.

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