According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two-thirds of all drug overdoses in the country involve an opioid, and overdose deaths increased by nearly 30 percent during the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses and volunteers at Leaf411™ fear that these numbers will continue to rise, and point to an urgency to educate consumers on ways they can augment or replace opioid use for chronic pain with cannabis.
“The increased isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic left a terrible legacy of death due to opioid misuse and abuse,” said Registered Nurse Katherine Golden, Founder and CEO of Leaf411, the first free cannabis nursing hotline. “Today more than ever, we are facing a growing epidemic of opioid-related deaths. Cannabis treatment can really help patients better manage their chronic pain and as a result, reduce or even completely eliminate their opioid use. But that can only happen if people have the information they need to make informed decisions that are based in evidence.”
Founded precisely on that principle, Leaf411 provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis, both marijuana and hemp-based products. The Leaf411 team includes cannabis-trained nurses who are passionate about helping their community access balanced education about legal cannabis use. Consumers can call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. MST to connect with a trained nurse for information, or visit the Leaf411 website to chat with a nurse and view educational resources. To help the organization educate even more consumers and patients, the Cannabis Creative Movement has teamed up to develop and distribute the Leaf411 Opioid Awareness Guide which was created in partnership with Radicle Health and is now available for free download here.
“During a time when so many are looking for ways to manage chronic pain or relieve anxiety, we think it is critical to reach as many people as possible with this important information,” said Wes Donahoe,Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of The 9th Block, and a founder of the Cannabis Creative Movement. “The use of opioids is absolutely essential with some injuries or cases of acute pain, but too many individuals lose track of their usage or fail to follow prescribed dosing and it is very easy to become dependent. The Leaf411 guide provides valuable information on how cannabis can offer a longer-term solution to help manage pain with fewer side effects and better outcomes.”
A non-profit dependent on donations from the public and generous benefactors, Leaf411’s mission is to tackle healthcare inequality by providing cannabis education to the consumer at no cost. Leaf411 was built on the belief that affordability and accessibility to professional medical advice should never be barriers to using cannabis safely and effectively. The organization works to combat cannabis misinformation with researched, evidence-based information on cannabis to help people make educated, informed decisions about their personal treatment options.
“We provide the nation’s first, free cannabis nurse hotline to consumers,” said Katherine Golden. “We have also created additional programs focused on providing free community education and product affordability by connecting product donations to people in need through partnerships with cannabis industry leaders and diverse community organizations across the country.”
The Leaf411 Opioid Awareness Guide can be downloaded for free, and all Leaf411 services, including their telephone hotline, are free as well. Those interested in contributing to the organization can donate here.