Insys Therapeutics, manufacturer of the synthetic opioid medication fentanyl, made headlines recently when it donated half a million dollars to the anti-cannabis legalization effort in Arizona. Fentanyl is a potent and highly addictive pain killer helping fuel the country’s opioid epidemic and skyrocketing overdose rates.
Presumably, Insys is funding anti-legalization efforts because legal cannabis represents a threat to its bottom line: medical cannabis can be an alternative to opioids for pain management, and states with medical marijuana laws are seeing lower rates of opioid abuse. In addition, there is evidence that plant cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) may be useful for treating opioid dependence. So it seems clear why a pharmaceutical company specializing in the sale of a synthetic opioid would oppose cannabis legalization.
But there’s more to it than that.
Insys is currently running a number of clinical trials investigating the use of cannabis-based therapies for a variety