Popular TV physician Dr. Oz appeared on Fox & Friends on Tuesday to talk about Ivanka Trump’s pregnancies. While hosts enthusiastically agreed with Oz on a number of his statements, he ended up surprising them by diving quickly into a conversation about marijuana and how it can stop the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic has been expressed as one of the Trump administration’s major public concerns.
“The Exit Drug”
“Can I ask you one thing?” Dr. Oz said, suddenly talking very quickly in order to ensure that his position was clearly expressed before the segment’s end. “I talked about the opioid epidemic, but the real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana. Just really quickly, people think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics. It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic. But we’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule 1 drug and, personally, I believe it could help.” Steve Doocy, who has made negative remarks about marijuana on the show for many years, could only reply “Wow. I hadn’t heard that before” as he wrapped up the segment.
Dr. Oz’s Advocacy of Medical Cannabis as an Opioid Substitute
This isn’t the first time that Oz has made his advocacy of marijuana known. In 2015, on World Health Day, he released a video asking for the “treatment of marijuana as medicine.” His opinions are the same as many researchers in the medical field that have found the plant to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of a whole array of disorders and conditions including those suffering from chronic pain who would usually be prescribed opioids as a remedy. His position on marijuana’s ability to end the opioid epidemic may also be based on facts that show a significant reduction in opioid addiction and opioid related deaths in the 29 states where it has been legalized for medical use.
Blockades to Government Authorized Marijuana Research
Oz also brings up the issue of medical research. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and LSD. This is reserved for substances that have a high risk of addiction, have no medicinal benefits and are not safe to be tested on humans. Not even cocaine or methamphetamine have this classification. They are both classified as Schedule II drugs. The result of the current classification for marijuana is that it is illegal to research its medical uses. Last August, the DEA made it possible for researchers to apply to study the plant but the Trump administration has blocked progress on this. The Department of Justice, run by longtime prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have not approved the medical research. In fact, the Department has been working to find ways to crack down on the medical and recreation marijuana industries.
The most recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use. In the advent of legalization in so many states, teen use is at its lowest point in 20 years. With so much evidence existing on the medical benefits of the plant, it seems only a matter of time before more government approved research will be allowed to be conducted on the plant.