Marijuana Helps Addicts Transition off Heroin and Opioids | cannabisMD

Can Medical Marijuana Help Addicts Transition off Heroin and Opioids?

Medical Marijuana Help Addicts Transition off Heroin and Opioids

Medical marijuana is a term that most Americans have become accustomed to hearing in recent years. While the twentieth century saw the international prohibition of cannabis and the birth and growth of the illegal cannabis trade, the last couple of decades have seen a real change in attitudes towards the drug.

This change is largely attributed to the increase in medical marijuana research. Researchers have studied cannabis more in the past twenty years than ever before. Studies have explored everything from the effect of medical cannabis on acne and eczema, to its ability to reduce epileptic seizures and kill cancer cells.

One of the more recent additions to this vast array of research has been the introduction of clinical trials investigating the effects of medical marijuana on addiction and addiction recovery. Although many people continue to baulk at the idea of treating addiction with medical cannabis, research reports that there could be more to the issue than meets the eye.

Medical marijuana is still not readily available in most states across America. This means that patients who are suffering from addiction unfortunately don’t have the option of medical marijuana drug addiction treatment. However as the number of states where medical marijuana is now legal grows, more Americans are gaining access to this option.

The Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction is on the rise in the United States. Whether addicted to prescription drugs or illegal substances, there are more addicts in America today than ever before. Many people who suffer from addiction remain in denial of their condition for quite some time. Admitting to addiction is, as they say, the first step in treating it.

However, for many addicts the loss of personal pride and the humiliation of such an admission is too much to bare. Nonetheless, the symptoms of addiction will eventually make it impossible to the patient to ignore their condition any longer. This is why it is important to be familiar with the symptoms of addiction.

Symptoms:

  • Lying and stealing in an effort to get cash
  • Changes to social life, such as new friends who are kept away and separate
  • Secretive behavior such as unexplained absences and outings
  • The repeated presence of drugs, usually hidden
  • Very anxious, restless behavior such as pacing the floor
  • Defensiveness and aggression towards loved ones
  • A total lack of interest in activities where using the drug is impossible
  • Feeling panic when supply of the drug runs out, is lost or found by family members
  • Marked changes to weight, appetite, sleeping patterns and mood

In 2017, almost 200 overdose deaths were recorded every day. Symptoms often begin so gradually that they are virtually undetectable to the patient and their loved ones. Over time they are likely to increase in severity and become more noticable. Although experiencing a single one of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily point to addition, when several of them are present it means addiction is very likely the cause. These symptoms are generally common across all substance addictions, including heroin and opioids.

Medical Marijuana Drug Addiction Treatment

Medical marijuana is the term given to legalized marijuana which is used for medical purposes. Medical marijuana laws are being reviewed and reformed across the United States and further afield. The latest medical condition that medical marijuana has been studied as a treatment for is substance abuse and addiction, and research findings so far are very promising.

Of course, many people remain skeptical of medical marijuana drug addiction treatment. They worry that replacing one addictive substance with another is counter-productive and that prescription medications are a better option. This is an understandable point of view. However, there are a number of reasons why marijuana could be the best option for reducing withdrawal symptoms and recovering from addiction in the long term.

Medical marijuana naturally relieves many of the withdrawal symptoms of heroin and opioid addiction. It is a powerful pain reliever, can stabilize mood, soothe anxiety and reduce nausea and vomiting. The fact that it carries all of these properties means that it can ease the withdrawal process for patients. The severity of physical withdrawal vastly increases the risk of relapse. This is why marijuana improves the likelihood of success.

Marijuana also interacts with the endocannabinoid system. This is a complex network of receptors which are located throughout the body. The system is responsible for the regulation of many different bodily functions, including but not limited to appetite, sleep, mood, memory and skin health. Marijuana strengthens this system and as a result, helps to restore much needed balance to the body.

The dependency created in addiction is extreme. By the time most patients reach the point where they’ve engaged with an addiction treatment program, their whole lives have revolved around their drug of choice for some time. This can be hard to understand for people who have not been affected by addiction, but the drug has been the sole focus of the addict’s life often for years at a time.

This leaves a gaping hole in their lives once they begin recovery, which can leave them feeling lost, purposeless and in search of something else. Medical marijuana can act as a psychological support by acting as a safe alternative that they can use as a substitute to their drug and fill that void in their lives with.

Using Medical Marijuana for Addicts

Whether suffering from opioid use disorder or have been battling an addiction to heroin for some time, it’s clear that medical marijuana can help. However, what isn’t clear is the potential long term side effects of medical marijuana drug addiction treatment and the impact that these effects could have on the health and wellness of the patient.

As this is a relatively groundbreaking new treatment, it is still very much an experimental one. Patients should always keep this in mind and discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana drug addiction treatment with their doctor at length. However, if studies are to be believed, it appears that medical marijuana could be the solution that adicts across America are searching for.

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