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Is cannabis effective in curing opioid addiction?

Is cannabis effective in curing opioid addiction?

27 April | 0 Comments | By Rachael

When it comes to pot, the world is quite literally divided into two halves. One that believes that pot is good, that it is a centuries-old practice to help relieve chronic pain and treat terminal illnesses; others that believe that pot is an addictive drug pushing many into the throes of habitual dependence. Pot lovers insist that banning the substance is a quintessential show of chauvinism practiced by many pharmaceutical companies and the legislature, who have chosen to remain oblivious of its many benefits. Pot haters, however, have vowed to fight tooth and nail any attempt to legalize pot as a cure thereby, condemning cannabis forever as a drug of substance abuse.

With many states allowing the use of cannabis for treating opioid addiction, including Massachusetts, the furor over pot continues. An observation made by Dr. Harold Altvater, a Massachusetts based physician, is an indication of the dilemma medical personnel face while administering cannabis. According to him, using medical marijuana as an alternative medicine is akin to “taking something that can be very harmful to an individual, and substituting it with another chemical, just like you would any other drug, that has a wider safety margin.”

Opioid addiction is endemic in many states of America. Medical marijuana, already a legal drug in many states such as Arizona, California and Colorado, is used for treating terminal illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression as well as opioid addiction. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a significant number of mortality incidents in the United States in the year 2015 were induced by opioids. Near about 33,000 deaths were attributed to heroin and synthetic opioids.

Marijuana- a gateway drug

That marijuana is a gateway drug is the chief reason many are demanding its ban. A gateway drug is one that can cause someone to experiment with more dangerous substances in future. This is because the use of marijuana triggers some pathways in the brain associated with reward and reinforcement. The ensuing decrease in dopamine or love hormone reactivity means that it is easier for a person to get addicted to drugs or alcohol. A study analysis of 27,461 adults enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol Use and Related Conditions, and published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in April 2016, showed that adults are five times more likely to have alcohol-related disorders, even without any history, if they used marijuana as opposed to those who did not. It even sustains existing alcohol use disorders. Another study suggested that using marijuana can lead to cocaine use. It is, therefore, imperative that any instance of opioid addiction that is treated with cannabis is handled with extreme care.

While there has been a drop in the sale of opioid drugs in states with legalized medical use of marijuana, past research has also indicated that those undergoing detox treatment for opioid addiction are more likely to complete the program if they are administered medical marijuana.

It is also to be noted that when cannabis is used a means for providing a safer high in opioid addiction cure, a certain chemical called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is removed. So the substance that is responsible for increased risk is deficit in clinical settings. The drug is safely administered by physicians who have the license and training to administer Schedule I drugs. However, it is quite unlikely to oversee the quantum and extent of medication in case a person self-medicates. There’s always a risk of overdose and accidental dose. Hence, there is a need for extreme caution in making judicious use of the pot.

Recovery road map

If you or a loved one is struggling with any form of substance abuse, it is imperative to seek help at the earliest. Any delay in treatment can prove to be fatal. The foremost step is detoxification to remove the toxins accumulated in the body due to a long-term use of a substance. Contact the Detox Facilities Texas to get information on some of the best detox centers in Texas that provide a serene environment for complete recovery. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 or chat online to connect with the best rapid detox centers in Texas.