The following is part of cannabisMD’s personal essay series on managing your health with cannabis. Do you …
Addiction is often misunderstood: Science is still mapping out exactly how it works, and there’s debate around what counts as an addiction. (For example, gambling is considered an addition, but compulsive gaming is not.) What we do know is that addiction is a chronic, complex disease that affects the body and brain.
It involves the neural systems linked to reward, motivation, self-control, and memory, and is rooted in genetic and environmental factors. People who are addicted to nicotine, gambling, alcohol, or other drugs are unable to control their cravings — regardless of whatever the physical, emotional, and social fallout might be. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million Americans age 12 or older had a substance use disorder.
Other health conditions, both physical and mental, are often associated with addiction. The NSDUH found that 8.5 million American adults were living with a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder, or co-occuring disorders. Because addiction is a chronic disease, it’s not something that can be cured.
But there are plenty of treatment options and tools for managing addiction and living a healthy life, like medications and behavioral therapies. This includes cannabis: According to a 2018 review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, it’s a promising treatment for opioid addiction.
At cannabisMD, our goal is to provide you with the most up-to-date research on alternative and natural addiction treatments, including cannabis and marijuana therapy.