An Open Letter to the FDA: Cannabis Doesn’t Kill People, But Opioids Do

theBluntness Chairman and Wise PR President Harrison Wise weighs in on recent cannabis vaping scares.

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Harrison Wise, Chairman, theBluntness, Inc. & President, Wise Public Relations

Once again the FDA is trying to put a stop to cannabis use.

And while the increase in vape-related illnesses is a legitimate health concern that warrants action, one has to wonder why this particular action -- discouraging use of “all THC vaping products” -- is what they’re advocating.

Let’s look at the facts.

Tests have only recently been able to confirm that the primary culprit in many of these cases is a fungicide, which, when burned, can turn into hydrogen cyanide. Tests have also only found this ingredient in the black market vape cartridges.

In addition to the potentially deadly fungicide, 13 out of the 15 (illegal) carts tested positive for Vitamin E, a solvent used to cut cannabis extracts that, when it reaches the lungs, could trigger an immune response that causes pneumonia.

What’s clear is that the problem lies NOT with cannabis itself -- particularly licensed and tested legal cannabis -- but overwhelmingly with the illicit and counterfeit products flooding the market. Yet mainstream media outlets and the FDA would like you to think the culprit is cannabis or THC. Which may beg the question: Why?

It should come as no surprise that the FDA is far more closely aligned with Big Pharma than with the cannabis industry. It's no secret, as Big Pharma has spent billions of dollars trying to keep cannabis illegal.

The funny thing about this is that according to the CDC, from 1999 to 2017, over 700,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. Meanwhile, people have had the ability to vape tobacco (and cannabis) for well over a decade, and the authorities are struggling to directly connect the act of vaping to even 20 deaths.

While we should do our best to prevent any deaths from vaping, those stats show that FDA-approved prescription drugs are at least 35,000x the problem vaping is, and yet the backlash and reaction are incongruous. The opioid industry was in a boatload of trouble just as this “vaping crisis” got blown out of proportion, and it’s not a coincidence.

This is how the FDA stems the growing tide of acceptance for cannabis, with a classic strategic communications move designed to miseducate the masses. But here’s the big difference between cannabis and opioids or tobacco: CANNABIS DOESN’T KILL PEOPLE.

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