Dignity is a program of Agape Inc., a small nonprofit nestled in the heart of Portland. Dignity is an organization of teachers, healers, storytellers and listeners and they believe that there are five things that are needed to reduce overdose deaths: Dignity for people using drugs, Safe Consumption of all substances, Amnesty for people locked in cages because of their substance use, Legalization of all substances and Justice for the families and communities devastated by this epidemic. In partner ship with Evergreen Cannabis Company, Dignity is looking to mitigate pain using THC and CBD instead of opioids. In support of this partnership, Shimmerwood Beverages is donating our CBD seltzer to help Dignity address the opioid epidemic in Maine.
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information Cannabinoids have shown significant promise in basic experiments on pain.
According to Drug Discovery: A History by Walter Sneader Oxycodone, used to treat moderate to severe pain, was introduced as a miracle drug in 1995. It was first made in Germany from Thebaine in 1916 which is made from the poppy plant. Opium has long been used to treat pain and has long been known to be addictive.
Here in the United States patients looking to escape physical pain were prescribed the opioid Oxycodone under the OxyContin or Roxicodone brands. Before starting their prescription, Oxycodone patients should first be educated about the cognitive and physical effects of these prescriptions. Doctors now warn patients about the dangers to themselves and others in operating machinery, driving, or other related activities while under the influence of this drug.
While taking opioids you will have difficulty leading a normal life. Especially if you become addicted.
Opioid Overdose Deaths Have Surged During the Pandemic, according to the C.D.C. In 2020 Maine registered 504 deaths from overdose. Deaths from opioids, or drugs sold as opioids laced with fentanyl a synthetic opioid, have become a national health crisis. As of April 2021 opioid death numbers have surpassed the yearly tolls counted during the height of the opioid epidemic and mark a reversal of progress against addiction in recent years. According to the New York Times more than 87,000 Americans died of drug overdoses over the 12-month period that ended in September, according to preliminary federal data, eclipsing the toll from any year since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s.
THC and Cannabis (Chuck Mascari's Story)
My personal use of opiates led to the founding of Shimmerwood Beverages. Due to an autoimmune disease called Systemic Sclerosis or scleroderma I was prescribed opioids for pain management. Scleroderma is a nasty disease where your immune system attacks your body’s soft tissue. It hardens soft tissue like your lungs, heart, kidneys, etc. but what you notice the most is lost flexibility. Joints stiffen and lock. Hands do not lie flat or grip well. Easy becomes hard and you worry you won’t be able to do the simplest things like tie a shoe or button a shirt or be able to pull a sweater over your head. At some point you worry you won’t be able to maintain suitable hygiene on your own. It is a painful disease and inhibits normal activities such as sleep and diet.
I took OxyContin for six years. At first it helped with pain management. Over prolonged use its effectiveness waned. Getting prescriptions renewed was difficult. The side effects, such as constipation, became old fast. Urine tests were required on a quarterly basis to make sure I wasn’t dealing the drug. Each test cost $50 out of pocket as the test is required for government compliance and not covered by medical insurance. I could afford the fee but often wondered what happened to those that could not.
Taking cannabinoids, CBD and THC, helped me stop taking opioids. I was fortunate that I did not get addicted to OxyContin. It was a drug I took as needed, primarily at night and in the morning. During mid-day I would avoid taking it if possible.
There are multiple ways to use CBD or THC. Topical salves, smoked flower, oil via sublingual drops, and ingestion with food are all options. Shimmerwood Beverages leverages hemp derived CBD that has been emulsified to better disperse in water. This nano emulsified oil stays dispersed so that the flavor and consistency of the seltzer is shelf stable. A benefit of edible CBD products is it is easier to monitor a specific dose. Shimmerwood Beverages includes 5 milligrams of full spectrum CBD per 11.5 ounce can.
I consider myself lucky to live in a region where medical THC and CBD are available. Investments in research in this area are needed however. According to a WHO article from November of 2017, “Another possible therapeutic application which has been investigated is the use of CBD to treat drug addiction. A recent systematic review concluded that there were a limited number of preclinical studies which suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction...” The government should fund research in this area. Saving lives and livelihoods is good for taxes.
During the last administration, several billion dollars in grants to states allowed more drug users to get access to the three F.D.A.-approved medications for opioid addiction — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone — they work by suppressing cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. None of this money was allocated to THC or CBD. Big pharma doesn’t sell THC or CBD.
When we started Shimmerwood Beverages, one of my goals was to expose more people to CBD. Doing so in a mixology way where sober curious individuals could find social acceptance and chill out drinking a hemp infused CBD beverage appealed to me. Our drinks are meant for social engagement while spending time with friends and family. People really seem to enjoy them.
Shimmerwood also believes that THC and CBD can provide options for opioid addicts. This is why we support the Evergreen Cannabis Company initiative with Dignity. I can attest to its effectiveness. These are good options that minimize dependence on big pharma. Options that aren’t addictive.