THC as a medicine
A life full of pain
– what does it mean?
It seems to be an inevitable fact of life: Pain is part of it. Science confirms it. Surveys conducted by the Federal Statistical Office, for example, show that pain is a normal aspect of everyday life for many men and women in Switzerland. More than two out of five people suffer from back pains; nearly every tenth woman complains of severe pain in the shoulders and neck; and just as many women struggle with problems in falling asleep or sleeping through the night.
Looking at the topic of chronic pain on an international level, the situation is even more dire. In Germany and Austria, chronic pain can almost be called a veritable pandemic. Surveys conducted by the European Pain Federation in 2014 provide evidence that around 100 million people in the European Union suffer from chronic pain (i.e. pain that lasts three months or more and returns with regularity). Not surprisingly, for those affected, this leads to a severe impairment of their physical and mental health.
Treatment with opioids – a shift in the tale of woe
Of course, permanent pain reduces quality of life and has a negative impact on the psyche and the body. Thus various forms of medicinal treatment have become routine, especially in medicine in the Western world, where the problem of chronic pain is systemic. One such form of treatment is the administration of so-called opioids, and it is significant. The term refers to natural or synthetic substances with morphine-like effects. Over the trajectory of their lives, almost 20 percent of all Europeans take such preparations. The administration of opioids has proven successful in many ways. It has one major disadvantage, though: The substances have a high potential for making patients addicted to them.
The development in the United States shows the risk of opioid administration. Experts speak of a veritable opioid crisis: Tens of thousands of people have become addicted to painkillers containing opioids in the United States. Many switch to heroin and fentanyl later. For this reason, a state of emergency was declared in the United States in 2017: Every year, 47,000 people, about 130 a day, die of opioids there. In October 2019, a model civil suit began in Cleveland, Ohio, against several pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers. The class action bundled more than 2000 lawsuits. The companies are accused of consciously having concealed the risk of addiction involved in using these painkillers and having marketed the drugs aggressively for profit.