Surprise — our painkillers are killing us!

News item: When you consume them in high doses, commonly prescribed painkillers including ibuprofen increase your likelihood of having a heart attack within the first month of taking them.

Wow. A drug developed in the 1960s as an alternative to aspirin, available over the counter since 1983 and a medicine-cabinet staple in homes and workplaces across the country can actually make you 20 to 50% more likely to have a heart attack. And it’s not the only one. Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including naproxen and celecoxib — among the most-commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. — can also cause heart attacks within a week, according to Time.

This is not a good ‘wow.’

This is wow, we are all guinea pigs, and have been all our lives. Humanity itself is a test-and-learn endeavor, and always has been: The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe all have effects, good and bad. There have always been poisonous substances in nature. Isn’t that why we banded together and created the Food and Drug Administration? To make sure the things we consume aren’t killing us?

Why, then, does it so often seem that the cure is worse than the disease? Not to sound like a radical, but pharmaceutical pain-relievers are designed, first and foremost, to return a profit to the companies that manufacture them, right? And we don’t have a government that functions as a protector of the little guy. So there you have it.

But here’s the silver lining.

There is a plant you can grow in the backyard or on your balcony that will help you when you’re hurting, and it won’t increase your odds of succumbing to another disease. Compounds in cannabis, including cannabidiol (CBD), relieve pain and reduce inflammation. And it’s safe. No one has fatally over-dosed on cannabis in 40,000 years of human interaction with this plant.

Crazy, right? But scientists are learning more about how cannabinoids interact, and about the various effects they have on our bodies. ​When we have a sane drug policy, we will be able to fund clinical trials that could provide the evidence we need to make cannabis an everyday household item.

In the meantime, you can grow your own.

Or you can go to the dispensary and get flower, edibles, tinctures and vapes, and give yourself a daily dose of CBD and/or THC. Seriously, is there any doubt that it’s better than what they’re pushing on the nightly news?